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The significant growth of the collagen market is unmistakable. The protein ingredient is widely embraced for both beauty and fitness support. Easily integrated into specific diets such as keto and paleo, collagen has transitioned from being considered an inferior protein to a mainstream health supplement. Key influencers, including dietitians, nutritionists, fitness trainers, doctors and celebrities have endorsed collagen supplementation, which has contributed to collagen’s mainstream acceptance. Today collagen has dedicated aisles in supermarkets and health stores.
December 14, 2023
How quickly collagen’s fortunes have changed. With projections indicating a substantial increase in its value over the next decade, what was once considered a lower-grade protein is now a superstar ingredient. Collagen is incorporated into a wealth of new supplement and food and beverage formulations, across multiple categories from skin health to sports performance.
Even more, leading collagen brands are expanding product applications and distribution channels. From cookies and bars to chews, teas and bone broths, products with collagen and collagen peptides can be found from corner to corner in retail stores.
Collagen is recognized as the most abundant structural protein in the body, and its benefits are considered holistic, impacting skin, hair, gut comfort and joint health. Collagen’s versatility suggests potential applications beyond beauty, such as in healthy aging, sports nutrition and the active lifestyle category.
Explore the multiple layers that make up the modern market for collagen supplements as well as food and beverage items by downloading this free digital magazine. The articles include:
While beauty is subjective, healthy skin with minimal wrinkles is always an attractive proposition. Content Director Todd Runestad sees that thread behind consumers looking for supplements to improve skin health from within. Collagen is a popular choice, with research suggesting specific peptides from collagen may help reduce wrinkles, improve skin elasticity and strengthen nails. As those peptides, which are broken pieces of protein, get consumed, the body senses that collagen is broken down and kicks into gear to begin producing collagen all by itself.
Twenty-eight different types of collagen exist, but the most common are type I (skin, bones), type II (cartilage) and type III (skin, muscle), Lisa Schofield explains. The collagen market is booming, projected to reach $16.49 billion by 2028, with new product applications like fortified foods and beverages emerging, and M&A activity expected to accelerate industry consolidation, she predicts. Research is prodding category growth as well. For example, one study showed UC-II (undenatured type II collagen) was significantly more effective at alleviating the symptoms of knee osteoarthritis (OA) than glucosamine and chondroitin.
The collagen market is diversifying, with new sources offering specific benefits and appealing to different consumer preferences. Nick Collias describes the primary sources of collagen along the supply chain—chicken, marine animals, eggshell membrane, pigs and cows—and the benefits and limitations of all of them. Some unique characteristics emerge by source, as well. For instance, fish collagen is used in sweetened beverages and gummies to cover any residual fishiness, and eggshell collagen hooks into one of the most prevalent themes at SupplySide West 2023—upcycled ingredients.
Collagen peptides are processed by breaking down collagen protein into smaller fragments, making them easier for the body to absorb. These peptides trigger the body’s own production of collagen, essential for skin health, elasticity and hydration, Simon Pitman details; along with how taking collagen peptides can help slow down the aging process and reduce the appearance of wrinkles, regardless of age. Given that the aging process is gradual, it is recommended to start collagen peptides supplementation when individuals reach their mid-20s. However, starting sustained collagen peptide supplementation at an older age will still provide benefits.
Collagen, once viewed as a low-value protein filler, is experiencing a resurgence thanks to accumulating scientific research, writes Hank Schultz. He reports on the latest research looking at various aspects of collagen’s potential benefits, including skin health, sports performance and bone health, and the development of peptides targeting specific benefits like tendon support, joint health and digestive comfort. Research on collagen continues at a strong pace, although the tempo has slowed. Nevertheless, the continued interest in collagen indicates a bright formulation future for this stalwart ingredient.
Examples of collagen takeaways for your business include:
No longer is the collagen peptide category restricted to powders, tablets, gummies or capsules: Foods and beverages fortified with the popular ingredient are on the rise.
According to Precedence Research, the global collagen market was estimated at $10.8 billion in 2022 and is forecasted to reach $23 billion by 2032—rivaling and perhaps even overtaking whey protein.
While a significant volume of clinical trials and studies support collagen peptide skin claims, the evidence for hair and nails is more limited.
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