Collagen's Best Bet for Reaching New Markets


Heart and bone health may hold the most potential for the collagen market to expand.

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Photo ©

As one of the most famous ingredients on the beauty market, it can be easy to think of collagen first and foremost as a beauty ingredient. Collagen’s rising prevalence in sports nutrition and joint products has begun to challenge that perception, however, and that may just be the tip of the iceberg.

At the recent Natural Products Expo West trade show, Nutritional Outlook caught up with several nutraceutical companies working in the beauty space to hear their take on expansion opportunities for collagen.

“Collagen, in terms of its uses, is broadening,” says Nick Bitz, Chief Scientific Officer, Youtheory (Irvine, CA). In particular, Bitz sees heart health as one of the most promising unrealized health areas for collagen to further extend its reach.

“I really think cardiovascular’s [collagen] story is going to come around eventually. It’s definitely not there yet and we’re watching it,” says Bitz. “I think it could get really interesting and break open collagen as an ingredient out of the beauty category and into a much, much larger category-especially the men’s category.”

Youtheory is currently investing in research around the effects of hydrolyzed collagen on cardiovascular health, which Bitz says should yield preliminary results by the end of the year.

Tim Mount, director of education for NeoCell (Irvin, CA), also sees opportunity on the cardiovascular health market, especially if there’s evidence that collagen helps to increase circulation. And given the inroads collagen has made in joint health, bone health may be another natural fit, suggests Mount.

“Bone I think is the next big thing,” says Mount. “Obviously bone is part of joints, but bone health, especially for the aging population, is really popular. Collagen provides the framework of bones and there’s becoming more and more research [on collagen for bone health] as the baby-boomer population ages.”

There may also be potential in weight management, suggests Mount, with some early research suggesting satiation effects of collagen in women.


Targeting Men

The male market is another area some collagen firms have turned to, but are men actually becoming more interested in collagen for beauty?

NeoCell’s Mount believes more and more men are turning to beauty products, although he agrees it remains a female-dominated market. Joint health collagen products, on the other hand, are much more gender neutral, he says.

Youtheory’s Bitz points out that Youtheory has been offering a men’s collagen product for several years now, although Bitz is excited about the potential of new health areas-such as heart health-for reaching men.

“I don’t know that [beauty is] the most direct way to capture the male consumer,” says Youtheory’s Bitz. “I do think there’s a growing trend that men are becoming more involved in beauty and they’re starting to put on skincare products and lotions and hair creams. Shaving companies are starting to cater more to men’s beauty, but I think that sports nutrition and active men’s lifestyle is probably the quickest way for them to get it.”

Not everyone’s convinced the men’s beauty market is even worth investing in. Michelle Baron, brand manager of innovation for beauty brand Natrol (Chatsworth, CA), says she has seen some beauty brands target men, but Natrol is keeping its attention on women.

“As you can see by the advertising we’re putting out, we’re staying focused at this time on our core consumer, which tends to be more female-heavy because females tend to be the larger users of supplements,” explains Baron.


Other Beauty Ingredients Trending

Aside from collagen, another ingredient some beauty brands are focusing on is lutein. For instance, Natrol’s new Biotin Plus will be hitting stores in May 2016, which combines 5000 mcg of biotin with 10mg of lutein.

Sea buckthorn berry is also getting more attention on the beauty market, says Jeff Brucker, vice president of marketing for Genesis Today (Austin, TX). Brucker explains that sea buckthorn rose to prominence for its role in superfruit juices, but it’s now beginning to be positioned more around its role for beauty support because of its omega-7 content.

“Now you’re starting to see sea buckthorn in topicals, creams, and moisturizers, as well as putting it in capsules, gel caps, and concentrated juices,” says Brucker. “That’s an area that we’re looking to because we think it’s ripe. The science is there where we think that’s an ingredient, from a superfruit standpoint, with room to grow further.”


Read more:

Are Collagen Nutricosmetics More Effective than Topical Collagen?

Ingestible Collagen May Keep Facial Skin Looking Young

Collagen Peptides Reduce Cellulite in Women?


Michael Crane
Associate Editor
Nutritional Outlook Magazine

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