Collagen peptides: Innovation platforms far from exhausted, says Rousselot exec

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22 Feb 2018 --- Boosted by a growing body of scientific research, collagen peptides have risen in popularity over the past years. In fact, Innova Market Insights figures show that there was a +34 percent compound annual growth rate (CAGR) in new product launches for collagen peptides from 2010 to 2016. However, there is still ample room for further growth and research, according to Lisette van Lith, Global Director of Rousselot's Peptan, who spoke with NutritionInsight about her new role and regional inspiration for the usage of collagen peptides. 

Fresh approach
Van Lith was appointed as global director of Rousselot’s Peptan brand in January. Van Lith has a background in the chemical industry, starting 15 years ago as an environmental engineer, and later growing towards marketing and strategy positions. She has held positions in innovation, market and business development and commercial management. In her various positions, she covered a wide range of products, which van Lith says is exactly her strength.

“What I bring to the company is a different perspective on the collagen peptide sector, because it’s a relatively new industry for me. It’s more consumer-facing than my previous roles, much faster paced and it touches the health and wellness sector,” van Lith says. 

In Peptan, van Lith sees “a brand that not only brings value to the shareholders – which is, of course, part of my role growing the peptide business – but that can really improve people’s lives as well.”

“By using Peptan on a daily basis, people experience various health benefits, not only regarding visible signs of aging but also on the inside; there is an effect on the musculoskeletal health, in terms of joints, bones and muscle health,” van Lith says. “We have great science to support these areas and look forward to exploring new areas that bring value to our consumers.”

Areas with growth potential
“The global functional and fortified foods market was valued at US$250 billion in 2017, and it’s still growing. Consumers are looking for products which functionally cover their nutritional needs in their daily diet,” van Lith notes.

In van Lith’s view, the hydrolyzed collagen market especially has not yet reached maturity. Although the Japanese market is slightly more mature than other regions, there is still a lot of potential for growth globally. 

“The nice thing is that, for example, sports nutrition is very big in the US, and you see that coming now in the eastern part of the world. And vice versa: beauty products hailing from the East are now being introduced in the West. So there’s a nice balance, with a lot of room for growth,” she notes.

And how about any challenges? “With the product growing so fast, the challenge is to keep up with demand. What we like to do to support our products with science. There is still so much to discover, which leads not to challenges but opportunities.”

Innovative product launches
Rousselot’s Peptan continues to develop in the key health areas of healthy aging, joint and bone health and skin/beauty from within and is also looking for new ways to deliver its products and new evidence for symptom relief, van Lith states.

This month, the company announced the launch of two new products; StabiCaps, a gelatin solution for more stable soft gels, and Peptan IIm, a hydrolyzed collagen Type II matrix specifically developed for joint health. Both ingredients will be introduced during a two-day event (14-15 March) at Rousselot’s Expertise Centre in Ghent, Belgium, which will be open to visitors from outside the company’s customer base. 

Regional inspiration
Speaking on innovation within collagen peptide end-products, van Lith notes that there has been a lot of inspiration from Asian products, where there is a strong regional market for functional foods and beverages. 

“Japan has been leading the beauty-from-within category and this is a specific region where we saw a lot of product innovation, such as jellies and beauty shots that have now entered the market in the US and Europe.”

“Interestingly, [the US and Europe] are translating these concepts into regional adaptations, to suit regional habits. For example, in the US, we are starting to see in-demand innovations such as instant soups with collagen or collagen creamers.”

Moving forward, more of these concepts will be “translated” to suit regional needs and habits, van Lith predicts, with convenience also playing a huge role, prompting the creation of on-the-go packs or formats that fit in handbags.

Clean credentials
One of the collagen’s strengths is its clean label credentials, van Lith notes, and this will help it thrive, despite the current trend toward veganism.

“Collagen is derived from animal proteins and has certain unique functionalities that are not found in plant protein sources. Having a neutral flavor, collagen peptide remains a key protein derived nutritional ingredient and a well-performing product,” van Lith says. “Additionally, the production of collagen revalues byproducts from the meat industry. With our state-of-the-art extraction processes, we contribute to a sustainable and circular economy.”

“The clean label trend is well established and certainly not going away. For the next phase of clean label, we are likely to see more emphasis placed on the transparency aspects of the products, as this is also very important to consumers. Collagen peptides are derived from natural sources, with excellent digestibility and highly bioavailable, and without any additives or preservatives, making it an ingredient without E-number and an excellent option to use in the formulation of clean label products,” she concludes.

By Lucy Gunn
 

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