RTDs and Shots Gain Ground
While the American functional foods market lags behind those of other countries, functional drinks are an ideal niche for ingredients like collagen. Says Clardy: “We haven’t yet seen what you see in Japan, which is collagen marshmallows, etc. But we are seeing a bevy of collagen RTDs and shots hit the market, most direct-to-consumer.” She says that as a tasteless and odorless substance, collagen is ideal for inclusion in functional beverages and foods.
“We still haven’t seen a mainstream blockbuster product hit the functional food market,” Clardy adds, however. “There are lots of powders that are popular, but they’re dietary supplements.”
Beyond the standard food market, Clardy predicts that collagen products will play an important role in the medical foods market, saying that she hopes to see the development of a bone-building collagen product in a medical line. She predicts that collagen products may diversify around benefits like wound healing and post-surgical recovery. “My prediction is that we’ll see the introduction of a range of medical foods for specific conditions like sarcopenia, osteopenia, post-surgical recovery, and fracture recovery,” she says.
Arment says that collagen drinks, whether RTD or powdered, offer manufacturers a variety of new opportunities for innovation. “Collagen peptides are highly versatile,” Arment says. “They’re a pure source of protein, non-allergenic, and free of additives, cholesterol, fat, gluten, sugar, and proteins. In their natural form, they don’t react with other ingredients, making them ideal for diverse applications.”
Manufacturers are now focusing on formulating collagen beverages with unique flavor profiles as well as exciting textures, she adds.
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