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Jennifer Grebow is editor-in-chief of Nutritional Outlook.
Eggshell membrane ingredients have had a presence in the joint-health market, as well as in other categories, for years now, but the ingredient still has lots of room for growth.
Eggshell membrane ingredients have had a presence in the joint-health market, as well as in other categories, for years now, but the ingredient still has lots of room for growth. As more customers look for joint-health alternatives to longstanding ingredients like glucosamine and chondroitin, eggshell membrane is ready to step in, offering numerous benefits, say suppliers at April’s SupplySide East trade show.
Growth in Beauty-from-Within, Pet Health
Amanda Orloske, senior director of marketing and international sales for Biova (Johnston, IA), said her company is seeing “a lot of renewed interest, and expanded interest” in its water-soluble eggshell membrane ingredients, made with a patented process, including BiovaFlex for joint health, BiovaDerm and BiovaBIO for skin health, and BiovaPlex for animal health.
In particular, Biova is seeing growth for its ingredients in the beauty-from-within market, Orloske said, namely due to the eggshell membrane’s numerous components targeting that space, including collagen and glycosaminoglycans such as glucosamine, chondroitin, and hyaluronic acid. Eggshell membrane provides all of those components in a single ingredient, she pointed out. Biova's ingredient also offers high protein at 88%.
The company is also seeing growing interest in the pet-health space as the ingredient also gains traction with veterinarians and gains notoriety as part of some popular pet products, Orloske said.
Eggshell membrane marketers are also investing in studies to expand further claims that can be made with their ingredients.
Earlier this year, Stratum Nutrition (Carthage, MO), supplier of the NEM brand of eggshell membrane, announced a new joint-health study in progress that will expand the findings of a 2018 study1 on NEM. The 2018 study was conducted in healthy post-menopausal women and found that 500 mg of NEM helped reduce joint pain and stiffness following exercise. In addition, that study revealed that NEM helps decrease levels of CTX-II, which is a cartilage degradation biomarker.
The new study now in progress follows up on the previous postmenopausal women study. This new study will feature more subjects (84 subjects instead of 60 in the first study) and include both healthy men and women of varying ages.
Based on these recent findings, in April, Stratum announced that it received a Natural Product Number in Canada that allows product claims such as “improving recovery from joint pain and stiffness” and “helps reduce levels of CTX-II, a biomarker of joint cartilage degradation” related to exercise.
“One of the biggest positive findings that came out of these studies is the fact that finished-product brands can use pain as a word in their claims if it’s exercise-induced pain,” said Andrew Rice, Stratum’s director of brand and product strategy, at SupplySide East. Not many other ingredients can make those claims, he added.
Need for Alternative Delivery Formats
As for the joint-health market, the category has been stagnant or declining when it comes to, as mentioned, some other ingredients. Orloske said that Biova’s ingredient's water solubility means it is suited for numerous types of products, including functional foods, beverages, and cosmetics, both ingestible and topical.
“I think one of the big things we are seeing is an absence of alternative delivery methods in the joint-health realm,” Orloske said. "That’s been a problem with the joint space for a long time. Because some joint-health ingredients are not water soluble, or at least the forms in which they’re most commonly sold are not water soluble, it limits the types of products…Really, there’s been a lack of innovation in delivery format. When you look at all the gummies that have launched, the joint-health category does not have a good gummy presence.” In addition to gummies, she said that stick packs are a good delivery format for joint-health products, especially those targeting the sports nutrition space.
Eggshell membrane stands out in general as something new in the joint space, Orloske said. “The joint-health category has been relatively stagnant with the longstanding glucosamine and chondroitin. What eggshell membrane offers that’s different from all of that is a more holistic approach because you get so many of these components-the collagen, elastin, glycosaminoglycans, protein, and more-all from one source in nature. I think that really provides an opportunity to reach consumers because they’re looking for whole foods and food-based ingredients. This is something that’s slightly different and really offers a whole group of nutrients from one source.”
New studies will also help to grow the market. Biova expects to see a new clinical study published soon exploring the benefits of its eggshell membrane for both joint health and beauty.
And consumer awareness will also grow. “Eggshell membrane has definitely taken a big boost over the last couple of years,” said Stratum’s Rice. “There is still a lot of education needed because it’s still a fairly new ingredient. But there’s been a lot of momentum, a lot more people looking at it-and especially ours because of the science that we’re putting behind it.”
And, he agreed, that as long as consumers are looking for “fresh, newer ingredients” in joint-health market, eggshell membrane has a lot of play left. “The marketability, the science behind it, and the uniqueness of the ingredient itself is why I think [eggshell membrane will succeed] in a pretty stagnant category,” he said.