SHIFT20: Collagen gains popularity in functional foods, especially bars, sports nutrition & beverage powders

By Elizabeth Crawford

- Last updated on GMT

Source: Getty / Yulia Lisitsa
Source: Getty / Yulia Lisitsa

Related tags Collagen IFT 2020 Sports nutrition

Once primarily restricted to dietary supplements or powders used primarily by the most dedicated fans for at-home DIY smoothies or drink enhancers, collagen is now one of the fastest growing ingredients in the functional food space with countless applications and significant potential in protein bars, RTD beverages and yogurts, according to Gelita, a leading collagen protein manufacturer.

“In 2019, the top three new product launch categories for collagens were supplements, sports nutrition, and beverage powders, including powder mixes for protein shakes,”​ Angie Rimel, US marketing coordinator for Gelita told FoodNavigator-USA.

“However,”​ she added, “in comparing 2019 to 2018, new product launches in bars with collagen more than tripled. So, the bar is the largest growth area and that is really exciting to see.”

She explained that manufacturers are drawn to add collagen to protein bars because it can improve taste and texture, as well as boost the finished product’s health claims.

“Often when you try protein bars, they can have an unpleasant texture or maybe a bit dry or grainy, but the addition of Gelita’s collagens can add stabilization and improve the texture and mouthfeel as well as the shelf life,”​ she explained.

In addition, she said, “collagen proteins are very easy to work with, which is why they are a great for a variety of applications beyond bars. They absorb well, they whip well, they dissolve and blend easily, they offer textural and sensorial support all without impacting the flavor as they have a neutral profile.”

As for functional health benefits, Rimel said, adding Gelita’s PeptiPlus collagen to a protein bar can boost the protein content by more than 60%.

Gelita’s line of five Bioactive Collagen Peptides further allow manufacturers to boost specific functional health benefits in foods and ready-to-drink beverages, she added.

For example, she said, manufacturers can add Gelita’s Tendoforte collagen to support tedon health, Fortigel for joint support, BodyBalance for lean muscle mass, Verisol to stimulate fiberblasts in skin and promote skin health.

“In short, we have specific bioactive collagen peptides in our portfolio that optimize the stimulatory effects on specific cells,”​ which again make the ingredients idea for a broad range of products in different categories, Rimel said.

While Gelita’s wide-ranging portfolio sounds impressive, Rimel says that manufacturers should not just take her – or any ingredient supplier’s – word for how the collagens will perform. She advises brands to always ask for and examine the scientific support for ingredient claims.

“Brand owners and manufacturers should consider how they want to position their products and then check that all the specific ingredients are supported by clinical studies, as ours are. And this is really important – specifically for collagen – because not all collagen peptides are the same,”​ Rimel said, noting that Gelita’s ingredients are all “backed by high level clinical studies that can support specific product positioning.”

With this in mind, she advises brands to consider: “Does the specific collagen fit in your technological applications? Does a supplier consistently deliver high-quality ingredients so that a consumer will receive the same product every time? Does the supplier have a reliable supply?”

Gelita, “naturally can check all those boxes,”​ Rimel said.

Beyond protein

As excited as Rimel said that Gelita is about its new collagen options, she said the company doesn’t want food and beverage manufacturers to forget about its “amazing Gelatine,”​ which Gelita will be showcasing virtually at this year’s IFT alongside its collagen.

“Gelita is globally renowned for its Gelatine, which offers amazing sensorial performance, texture and properties, ease of use in formulation and ability to absorb up to ten times its own weight in water,”​ Rimel said.

This last point will be a primary touchstone for the company next month when it presents at IFT’s annual conference virtually, Rimel said.

She explained the absorption is important because it allows brands to cut calories from foods without sacrificing volume, taste or texture. For example, she said, adding Gelatine to butter or margarine can reduce the fat content to less than 25% and in cheese preparations up to 40% all without impacting the mouthfeel, structure or taste.

Rimel acknowledged that this might seem like “a kind of old message, but it’s still relevant and important today because people are calorie conscious and try to eat healthy.”

Many also are worried about packing on the so-called ‘Quarantine 15’ – or adding on extra pounds from eating more indulgent comfort foods and moving less while sheltering in place to reduce the spread of the coronavirus.

Connect with Gelita​ at the virtual IFT show July 13-15.

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