Cracking the Collagen Market


With consumers now beginning to value the relationship between diet and skin more than ever before, holistic health and wellness trends are booming. The phrase ‘you are what you eat’ has never been more relevant in the health and beauty industry. With consumers increasingly scrutinising the health claims and ingredient lists of products, they are now hungrier than ever for products with ingredients backed by hard scientific evidence. One such product that seems to be delivering is that of collagen.

Collagen is having a moment – its moving from being a classical health and beauty inclusion to being included in the formulations of bars, powders, drinks, cereals etc.

What Is Collagen & Could It Really Serve Us As A ‘Fountain Of Youth’?

Collagen is often referred to as the body’s ‘scaffolding’. As the most abundant protein in the human body, it is a major structural component of connective tissues that makes up several body parts, including tendons, ligaments, skin and muscles. Making up about 75% of the skins dry weight, collagen also provides the volume that keeps skin looking plump and that keeps fine lines at bay. Collagen is also highly rich in in the amino acid’s proline and glycine, which enable maintenance and repair of the body’s tendons, bones, and joints.

28 Different Types Of Collagen, Each Categorised By Amino Acid Composition

Approximately 90% of collagen in the body is type 1, this being found in the skin, tendons, internal organs and organic parts of bone. The vast majority of the remaining collagen in the body is then made up of the following types: Type 2, which is found in the cartilage, Type 3, found in the bone marrow and lymphoid tissues, Type 4, found in the basement membrane (thin sheets of collagen that surround most types of tissues), and finally Type 5, found in the hair and surfaces of cells.

Collagen is no newcomer to the health and beauty scene, with consumers injecting the pricy substance as a means of filler, as far back as the 1980’s. Previously collagen has also been a popular ingredient within skin creams, however as science began to question its ability to penetrate the epidermis (outer layer of skin), the product seemed to fall somewhat out of favour. Recently, collagen has however found its way back, with a move into the food and supplement scene. We are now seeing an increasing number of edible collagen-containing products entering the market, such as collagen containing supplements and powders.

Collagen In Supplements

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Collagen supplements are proving a popular choice amongst consumers, with most hydrolysed, meaning that the collagen has been broken down, and in turn making it easier for the body to absorb. With regards to powders, flavourings and sweeteners are often added to make such products more appealing. As a result, powders are also now gaining momentum, with many consumers using them as an addition to their daily juices, smoothies, soups and even coffee. Supplements and powders aside, there are also several foods you can eat to increase your collagen intake, including pork skin and bone broth. For vegans, additional Collagen rich foods include red peppers, tomatoes, berries, citrus fruits, and leafy greens to name just a few and specific Collagen-esque formulations.

What Does The Future Look Like For Collagen?

With the global market predicted to hit £676m by 2023, it seems Collagen is set to stay. With practical applications of Collagen continuing to grow, it seems its benefits are stretching far beyond that of skin strength and hydration. Applications now point to the effectiveness of Collagen in wound healing, arthritis and sports related joint pain, as well as the benefits in terms of muscle gain. Collagen’s high protein content per calorie, coupled with low levels of sugar and sodium, now also make it a popular choice of protein supplement within the fitness industry.

The collagen craze is not however for all, with many health professionals still sceptical of the body’s ability to effectively absorb collagen proteins when passing through the stomach acid. Buy in is also limited amongst the vegan community, who are disapproving of collagen’s traditional sourcing from bovine, porcine, and marine animal derivates. As consumer’s increasingly make the transition to a vegan diet, advancements in plant alternative sources and bioengineered ingredients, will likely be necessary if collagen is to sustain present levels of popularity amongst consumers.

Collagen Is Here To Stay

At least for now, it seems collagen is here for the long run. Granted, its research backing is still well within its infancy, however as ingredients go within the health and beauty world, we cannot ignore collagen’s clear promise.

This new move into the food and supplement industry is clearly one to watch. If consumers can wreak such a multitude of health benefits just from just a single supplement or powder, they will no doubt continue to create demand which FMCG brands will need to address. Contact our FMCG experts to talk more about collagen and the role it looks set to play in its industry.

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