It seems like everyone is talking about collagen. The product has finally broken out of its niche category as consumers realize its multifunctional and nutritious value, offering added-health benefits such as improving skin health and relieving joint pain. Collagen is the most abundant protein in your body and a major component of connective tissues that make up several body parts, including bones, skin, tendons, and ligaments. Its basically the glue that holds our body together. But why the sudden outbreak of popularity?
The US supplement market is worth over $31 billion and collagen seems to be its breakout star; the global collagen market is now expected to grow to $6.5 billion by 2025.The rapid surge in consumer interest has mostly been driven by the ever-increasing need for health and wellness products, including products that boost immunity and promote life-longevity. However, its also been clear that there is now a huge demand for this ingredient across the whole foodtech space, including in nutrition, gym and fitness and keto.
Collagen is a very multifunctional product that allows it to be used for various formats and applications. The ingredient is soluble and almost tasteless and easy to use. These functionalities are very useful for application in the mass market, especially as the demand for higher-protein and healthier products continue to be top of mind for consumers.
As consumers demand increasingly more multifunctional products that offer different benefits, this has caused a spike in demand for startups that can offer these innovative solutions, hence the rise in plant-based and protein-based companies entering the market.
(Vital Proteins seems to be leading the market with their range of collagen-based powders, shots and protein bars)
The breakout stars of the collagen trend
Wellness startup Vital Proteins hit a gold rush when it discovered the potential of creating collagen-based supplements. With reports of a global epidemic the startup experienced more than a 50% increase in sales for its portfolio of over 2050 collagen-based products, including powders, shots and protein bars.
“If you think about everything that is going on right now, people are less distracted with in-person meetings and work. At the same time, they are also worried about their health,” – Vital Proteins CEO Kurt Seidensticker said to Forbes.
Even prior to when the pandemic struck, the company was growing at a rate of 100% each year.
Now, other startups are jumping on the collagen bandwagon, launching collagen-based products to the market. Original keto-friendly coffee creator Bulletproof decided to launch a suite of collagen protein boosts which are flavorful powdered drink mixes designed to make your daily dose of collagen more delicious and beneficial. The boosts contain specific nutrients to support the users functional needs.
Even bigger companies are cashing in on the trend, food giant Danone expanded its Light & Fit range with a non-fat yoghurt which contains collagen, antioxidants and vitamins A and E, and Hershey has launched a collagen-infused popcorn in its SkinnyPop range.
An abundance of investors and ingredient manufacturers have also been making developments in the collagen sphere. For example German speciality chemical company Evonik said in March that it had managed to achieve a breakthrough with its new fermentation-based platform, claiming it can now provide a highly soluble and purer form of collagen that is both sustainable and safe.
Whats next for the collagen market?
US-based research shows that the collagen market is estimated to account for nearly 3.5 billion dollars in 2018 and is projected to reach a value of nearly 4.6 billion dollars by 2023, at a CAGR of 5.2% as the ingredient makes its way into more food and drink. This increasing demand for health and wellness foods and the rising awareness of collagen in the medical and healthcare industries are the main driving forces behind the trend.
With exploding consumer demand and interest from companies, innovation in the collagen sector is just getting started.