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Collagen can be used in bone health, joint health, nutricosmetic, cosmetic, and even sports nutrition products.
Collagen encompasses a broad range of ingredients and categories. Collagen can be used in bone health, joint health, nutricosmetic, cosmetic, and even sports nutrition products. Considering the broad range of applications and potential customers, it should be of no surprise that collagen ingredients saw impressive sales growth in the last year. According to market researcher SPINS (Chicago), collagen saw cross-channel (natural, specialty gourmet, and multi-outlet/mainstream channel) dollar growth of 82.7%, increasing $66 million to $147 million during the 52 weeks ending October 6, 2019.
Collagen saw the greatest sales growth in the natural and specialty gourmet channels-which SPINS terms “innovation channels”-where a great deal of product trends show up before going mainstream. In the natural channel, collagen ranked as the 5th bestselling ingredient overall, with 2019 sales growing 59.6% over the previous year to reach $59 million. Within specific product categories in the natural channel, collagen found itself in two of last year’s top-selling health arenas: bone health and hair/skin/nails. During that time, collagen sales in the natural channel grew 7.9% to $1.5 million in the bone health category and grew an impressive 36.6% to $19.5 million in the hair/skin/nails category. Meanwhile, over in the specialty gourmet channel, collagen sales increased 88.2% overall to $2.8 million last year. Within two of the specialty channel’s top-selling categories-bone health and hair/skin/nails-collagen also performed well.
While collagen did not make it to SPINS’s list of the top-25-selling mainstream ingredients, collagen was an impressive performer in some mainstream health categories. Within the top mainstream categories of bone health, joint health, and hair/skin/nails, collagen saw significant sales growth. Collagen saw the greatest growth in the bone health category, increasing by 82% to $2.9 million. In the joint health category, collagen sales stayed mostly the same, increasing by 1.7% to $7.4 million. And, once again, hair/skin/nails saw huge growth in the mainstream channel, increasing 54.8% to $42 million.
A common thread between all three channels is that collagen products are performing exceptionally well in the nutricosmetics space.
Why? “Consider that the baby boomer population is well into middle age, and Generation X has also entered their early middle years. As with these two generations, millennials have also demonstrated a significant interest in maintaining a healthy, youthful appearance,” explains Gene Bruno, senior director of product innovation for supplements brand Twinlab Consolidated Corp. “Collagen is well understood to help promote youthful-looking skin, and there is a great deal of media interest in the topic.”
Collagen has a number of advantages as an ingredient-one them being that it is easy to incorporate into one’s diet in a number of ways. Collagen powder, for example, is easy to mix into foods and beverages. “Collagen powders are currently the most popular overall delivery form, although we’ve found that there are generational differences” in terms of buyer preference, Bruno explains. For instance, he says, collagen powders are most popular among women 25 or older who value convenience. Twinlab’s Reserveage product, Collagen Booster, in capsules, tends to be preferred by women 35 or older-the reason being that it benefits not only the skin’s health but also the joints’.
Collagen also fits into a number of diets. “What we know is that diets such as keto and paleo are driving significant traffic searches on our site,” says Bruno. “All of our collagen products are keto- and paleo-friendly, so it makes sense that people would incorporate it into their diets.”
As a bone health ingredient, collagen is also well-suited for multi-ingredient formulations, allowing for a full spectrum of bone as well as joint health benefits.
“Arguably, calcium and vitamin D are the top-selling bone health ingredients, while glucosamine and chondroitin are the top-selling joint health ingredients-although they are losing popularity in the marketplace,” says Bruno. “What’s cool about collagen is that this single ingredient has applications for both bone and joint health and can be used alongside of the aforementioned nutraceuticals, or used independently. Specific collagen peptides have been shown to promote bone mineral density and bone markers in postmenopausal women, while other collagen materials have demonstrated efficacy in supporting joint health and comfort.”
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