Collagen is gaining rapid momentum across myriad health and wellness applications in recent years, as consumer awareness regarding the product benefits grows stronger. Also, the changing perceptions of consumers towards wellness and health, due to various factors including social and environmental issues, and the more recent health implications of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic have shed light on the significant role the protein plays in creating a holistic health ecosystem.
Health and wellness across the globe have seen a major transformation driven by many technologies, consumers, science, and sociocultural factors, which have cultivated a more holistic ideal for wellness in recent years. Over one-third, or 38% of consumers worldwide have stated that their beliefs regarding health and wellness have undergone a significant change over the past year.
This shift in consumer perception and attitude towards health, as well as their growing focus on maintaining physical and mental well-being, is contributing massively to emerging health ingredients such as collagen, which is becoming highly prevalent in many food and beauty products over the years.
How much is the collagen industry worth?
Collagen is a naturally occurring protein serving as a key anatomical building block for various parts of the body, including skin, muscles, bones, ligaments, and tendons. It is the most abundant protein found in the body, making up for nearly one-third of the overall protein composition. Collagen has long established a firm presence in the beauty and wellness industry, as a core ingredient in many beverages, topical skin care products as well as health supplements.
This broad application scope, alongside the emergence of holistic health and wellness trends amid the intensifying focus on health in the COVID-19 era is likely to create lucrative growth prospects for the collagen market, which is poised to exceed a valuation of $6.34 billion by 2027, based on predictions from Global Market Insights, Inc.
In the current scenario, one of the key factors pushing the popularity of collagen-based products is the emerging trend of inside-out beauty that is taking the world by storm.
Collagen as the driving force behind the emerging inside-out beauty trend
With the novel coronavirus outbreak bringing overall health into the limelight, the significance of skincare and health is also coming to the fore. Consumers worldwide, regardless of background, gender or age are placing more emphasis on improving their health and growing more cognizant of the close relationship between wellness and beauty. As a result of this, modern beauty has become a more holistic concept, which focuses on not just external but internal wellbeing, with beauty supplements leading the charge. The emerging trend of inside-out beauty, therefore, involves the enhancement of skin and health conditions, via the use of advanced dietary and beauty supplements, designed to trigger internal changes within the body that produce visible results on the outside.
Among the many raw materials that show potential as beauty supplements, collagen is considered the most influential and is rapidly being touted as the rising star in the dietary supplements domain. Collagen supplements are taking on an active role in the inside-out beauty trend, given their beneficial effects including anti-aging, nail strengthening, and better hair and skin nutrition, to name a few. According to a study conducted by researchers in the UK, participants that consumed a mixture consisting of essential minerals and vitamins, hydrolyzed collagen, and hyaluronic acid, witnessed notable improvement in skin hydration, elasticity, and depth of wrinkles, as compared to those in a control group.
Marine collagen in particular is becoming a key source of interest in this trend, with GMI estimates suggesting that the collagen industry from marine sources could record a CAGR of over 9% through 2027, as a result of the protein’s highly sustainable and bioavailable nature.
Marine collagen has several proven beauty benefits, including improvement to overall skin texture and tone, firmness, greater elasticity, and the ability to smooth out wrinkles and fine lines. In lieu of these characteristics, and the strong potential of the product in holistic wellness, more and more startups are shifting their focus towards flooding the collagen market with advanced product formulations designed to provide beauty benefits ranging from clearer skin to weight loss to stronger hair, and more.
Darling Ingredients Inc. is a notable example of this, given the launch of the new MSC-Certified Peptan® Marine collagen peptides range by its Rousselot brand in January 2021. The new collagen-based product range sourced completely from marine wild-caught white fish, was introduced as a solution for nutrition and beauty brands to set themselves apart and expand their product portfolios with the addition of premium, sustainably sourced dietary and nutricosmetic supplements.
Top 5 benefits of collagen
From enhancing the structure of the skin to strengthening bones or alleviating joint-related discomfort, the functions of collagen in wellness applications are vast. Enlisted below are 5 key benefits of collagen, which are making them a prominent part of modern health and wellness.
Ease of digestion
Collagen is touted as a more comfortable way to integrate protein into the diet. A major reason for this is the process of hydrolyzing, which breaks down the collagen to make it easier to digest. The hydrolyzing process also gives collagen peptides the ability to become water-soluble, making them easier to ingest via liquid products such as smoothies or water.
Improvement of skin elasticity and reduced risk of wrinkles
One of the most prominent benefits of collagen is its ability to enhance skin health, particularly elasticity and reduction in wrinkle formation. According to a Journal of Drugs in Dermatology review in 2019, researchers conducted 11 placebo-controlled, randomized studies involving over 800 patients who consumed up to 10g of collagen each day, in order to improve skin health. The results of the studies revealed that the supplements showed strong potential in improving skin elasticity, by aiding better moisture retention and increasing collagen fiber density within the skin.
Alleviation of joint-related discomfort
Collagen helps sustain cartilage integrity in the body, with numerous studies showing the ability of collagen supplements to alleviate symptoms of osteoarthritis and in turn reduce overall joint pain. Tests conducted on collagen peptides also indicate their integral role in mitigating the severity of knee joint pain in adults, as well as their strong potential to delaying the occurrence of chronic degenerative joint ailments.
Improved gut health via oral supplements
In many digestive conditions, including IBD (irritable bowel disease), collagen has been hailed as a suitable gut healing treatment. A majority of patients with digestive ailments show a decreased level of collagen, which can affect the ability of the body to heal given that collagen is a major part of connective tissue that makes up the GI tract and the colon. This has, in turn, led to rising demand for ingestible collagen-based products for gut health, in order to correct any potential deficiency.
Improvement of Heart Health
Collagen has the ability to improve heart health, by enhancing the structure of the arteries, which are the vessels responsible for carrying blood from the heart through the body. In the absence of adequate structure support, arteries can become stiff, inflexible, and weak, leading to higher risks of heart attacks, cardiovascular diseases, and others, which in turn highlights the significance of maintaining proper collagen levels within the body.
Bone health improvement via collagen peptides consumption
Aging of the body has a detrimental impact on bone mineral density, particularly after the onset of menopause, as per the National Osteoporosis Foundation. Collagen peptide supplements are considered effective treatment solutions in these conditions, owing to their potentially favorable effect on bone mineral density, a fact that was supported by a placebo-controlled, randomized double-blinded clinical trial, which found that consumption of a collagen supplement by postmenopausal women led to a significant increase in bone mineral density as compared to the placebo.
Despite its long-standing presence in the beauty industry, the wellness benefits of collagen continue to be a keen area of interest for researchers in the modern era, especially with the expanding functionality of the protein across ingestible, topical, and medical applications. Given this persistent research interest, and the potentially favorable implications of the product across a multitude of applications, it is likely that the collagen industry will emerge as a major force in the health ingredients ecosystem in the years ahead.