Arment agrees. “Although Japan leads the way in the field of beauty care and foods containing collagen, this trend is spreading quickly in the U.S. and Europe, as evidenced by the staggering upward growth of U.S. collagen-based beverages, foods, and supplements,” she says.
Engel’s noticed the same uptick, and he thinks it makes sense, as such products “offer on-the-go and portable solutions for consumers leading hectic lifestyles and looking for maximum convenience to maintain their skin.” He’s seen his company’s own peptides appear in everything from bone broths and on-the-go soups to low-carb bread-in-a-mug, breakfast smoothies—even collagen waters and dark chocolates.
Piergeorge also points to collagen waters, as well as creamers and gummies, as products that “stand out, as they provide new use occasions for consumers to take collagen on the go and personalize their beauty routines even further.” To make that possible, her company supplies collagen types I and III in powdered, gummy, and chew form, as well as in tablets and liquids that combine the peptides with antioxidant vitamin C.
That collagen can show up in such a panoply of applications testifies to its practicality. Notes Paula Simpson, nutricosmetics formulator and founder, Nutribloom Consulting (New York and Toronto; www.paulasimpson.com), “Collagen is a versatile and stable ingredient that can be formulated into various product forms, added to beverages and water, and even cooked with to reap its health and beauty benefits.” Its neutral sensory characteristics, ease of use, and noticeable results when taken regularly, she believes, have helped it “succeed as a go-to ingredient for both manufacturers and consumers.”
Collagen also enjoys some cachet as a prestige ingredient thanks to its frequent appearance in posh “K-” and “J-beauty” products from Korea and Japan. Piggybacking on that renown, Piergeorge says, “Many other beauty brands are including it in a variety of different forms that help enhance beauty and skincare routines.”
Engel wagers that nutricosmetic companies can grow the category even further—and further boost collagen’s image—by “looking to expand their portfolio through cobranding with well-respected, established collagen brands.”
Douglas Jones, global sales and marketing manager, BioCell Technology (Irvine, CA), agrees. “We’ve really seen the rise of branded ingredients,” he says. And for good reason. “The value a branded ingredient brings to the formulator, marketer, and, ultimately, the consumer is supply-chain visibility: you know where your ingredient is coming from. And in our case, you not only know where it’s coming from, but you also know the clinical trials and the benefits you can expect. It’s typical that premium products are those with ingredients that have the science behind them.”
Piergeorge suggests beauty brands leverage collagen science “to create premium collagen products with other beauty-enhancing ingredient blends that address prevailing beauty concerns. Beauty brands should then educate consumers on the benefit of collagen and drive awareness through marketing efforts.”
Regardless of branding or positioning, Simpson concludes, “We know collagen works. Depending on the form or source used, any supportive ingredients, marketing claims, research backing—all these factors will determine the ‘prestige’ of the product in the market. And I think collagen will be here for a long time within the healthy-aging and beauty categories.”
- Global Industry Analysts Inc. “Increasing Emphasis on Oral Supplements for Maintaining and Enhancing Physical Appearance to Drive Growth in the Nutricosmetics Market.” Published March 2018.
- Campos MP et al. “Oral intake of collagen peptides for the improvement of skin and hair aging: a clinical study using non-invasive imaging techniques and evaluation of mechanical properties.” Submitted for publication (2019).