It isn’t a traditional source of protein, but collagen is definitely a protein-containing substance. Gelita (Sergeant Bluff, IA) wants you to know this, because the collagen supplier can do more with this ingredient than just make gelatin.
Gelita, and presumably other collagen suppliers, already sells collagen peptides for dietary supplements and cosmetic products. Sourced from cows or pigs, these substances have a potential to alleviate joint problems and strengthen the skin. Collagen peptides, though, are made up of amino acids—the building blocks of protein—so a market for collagen protein is right here for the taking.
It’s just starting, thanks to companies like Gelita that see a trend towards protein enrichment in consumer health products in general. While the company says it’s important to note that collagen protein is not a “complete” protein—collagen is missing the essential amino acid tryptophan—Gelita says a number of formulating advantages over other proteins can make collagen protein worthwhile.
“The beauty of collagen peptides, from a formulator’s perspective, is in qualities like neutral taste, neutral odor, high clarity, high solubility, and low precipitation,” says Lara Niemann, Gelita’s marketing director for the Americas. “It has an ability to be formulated across a wide range of pH levels, too.” Such functional benefits make collagen protein a candidate not just as a single protein source for products, but as a protein to pair with others. By the way, when consumers tasted whey protein products during an in-house Gelita study, they apparently preferred the odor and taste of those products when a little collagen protein was added.
We’ll have to wait and see just how collagen is able to carve market share out of the protein category, but its unique nature should make for some interesting opportunities; in fact, Gelita is already working on a protein-fortified gummy, with gelatin as the gelling agent and collagen protein as the protein.
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