Collagen challenges and solutions: Responsible sourcing amid climate uncertainties
27 Apr 2023 --- Collagen remains ever-popular in the nutraceutical space and consumer demand is increasing due to desires for healthy aging, holistic health and improved well-being. BioCell Technology, Gelita and Lonza speak with NutritionInsight about how they tackle the challenges of sourcing collagen and minimizing environmental impacts.
According to Innova Market Insights, collagen solutions are widely used as part of daily nutrition, particularly in supplements. Notably, the use of collagen ingredients in the bakery category is on a growth path with a 61% average annual growth when comparing 2018 and 2022.
Additionally, the market researcher highlights that collagen, as a source of protein, also contributes to supporting skin and joint health, and overall well-being. Helping alleviate insomnia is the fastest-growing positioning for collagen supplements.
Supplements with skin health claims have had an annual growth of 31% between 2018 and 2022, reports Innova Market Insights.
Challenges in sourcing collagen
BioCell Technology and Gelita highlight broader political issues impacting the supply chain, while Lonza takes preventative measures by reviewing and adding new suppliers.
Douglas Jones, global sales and marketing manager, BioCell Technology highlights the negative effect on the energy cost caused by the Russia-Ukraine war. This has been a challenge as BioCell Collagen has a dedicated supply chain primarily in the EU.
“To prevent challenges before they arise, we actively review and qualify new suppliers – so we can make sure we have continuity of supply without sacrificing quality,” comments Emily Navarro, master of science and registered dietitian nutritionist, global marketing manager at Lonza Capsules & Health Ingredients.
“Responsible sourcing of raw materials is a key step the collagen industry can use to mitigate sustainability challenges that can arise during collagen production. For Lonza, responsible sourcing means a commitment to upholding the highest ESG standards when making sourcing decisions.”
Oliver Wolf, who handles marketing of the EMEIA region at Gelita, affirms the challenge presented by ensuring the availability and quality of raw materials.
“Collagen proteins are derived from animal by-products, such as bones, skin and connective tissue, which can be difficult to obtain in sufficient quantities and quality. Collagen is in high demand due to its unique technological, nutritional and health benefits, which also leads to rising prices,” he says.
Sizing down environmental footprint
Promoting a more circular supply chain, BioCell Technology uses collagen from animal parts that are otherwise thrown away. Meanwhile, Gelita focuses on minimizing water and energy use for a better environment for the animals from which collagen is sourced.
“Adverse weather conditions, such as drought or flooding, can affect the health of animals and make their skin unsuitable for collagen production. Changes in temperature and humidity can also affect skin quality,” highlights Wolf at Gelita.
“We’ve taken several steps to invest in sustainable energy, water conservation and waste management. Since 2021, our facility in Chicago, US, has been powered by renewable energy from a solar farm and we plan to extend this to our other sites. Given the importance of water in our production, we prioritize reducing water consumption and treating wastewater.”
Wolf adds that the company has managed to reduce water consumption by 20%.
“Since 2017, we have made significant progress in reducing waste relative to production volume. In addition, as a company that processes natural ingredients of animal origin, we are committed to ensuring animal welfare,” he continues.
“To this end, since 2018 we have supported the German Animal Welfare Initiative (Initiative Tierwohl), which aims to promote sustainable and animal-friendly meat production in the agriculture, meat and food sectors.”
Jones at BioCell Technology says the company sources collagen from the cartilage in the discarded chicken sternal. “We use something that might otherwise not be used during the food production process.”
Booming collagen demand
Collagen’s popularity is driven by healthy aging, holistic health and well-being.
“Growing consumer interest in holistic health has been a huge driver of collagen demand globally. Consumers of all ages recognize the importance of overall health and well-being to meet their personal wellness goals. As part of this, consumers are looking at joint health supplements, such as collagen, to support their overall mobility and physical well-being,” says Navarro.
“Traditionally, collagen supplement products have focused on reducing joint discomfort in older consumers, who commonly experience joint health issues. However, over the last few years, we have seen more interest from younger, active consumers who now understand the importance of joint health in maintaining a healthy, active lifestyle.”
Wolf highlights that consumers are increasingly taking a proactive approach to their health and well-being to stay active and mobile into later life. “But they won’t take a supplement or functional product without questioning their efficacy. People are therefore seeking products with solid scientific substantiation and a proven mode of action.”
“As the most abundant protein in the human body, collagen accounts for about 30% of total protein content. It can be found in bones, muscle fascia, tendons, ligaments, joints and skin. As we age, the body’s ability to produce collagen decreases, which can lead to wear and tear or even injury.”
Jones also highlights the healthy aging theme – “consumers want to look and feel their best.”
“Consumers look for ingredients backed by scientific evidence when choosing products for themselves and BioCell Collagen has clinical evidence for both skin and joint health.”
In related reports, PersonalCareInsights speaks to Lycored, Nexira and Rousselot representatives about dietary-induced glow ups.
By Venya Patel
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