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Growing Awareness of Protein Consumption and Dietary Supplements to Drive the Adoption of Collagens in the Food & Beverage Industry

   July 29, 2022

Nowadays, the demand for protein is increased significantly. Proteins in various food items are used by the human body to create specialized protein molecules that help in the production of hemoglobin (Hb), an important component of the blood that helps carry oxygen to all body parts. It also promotes healthy metabolism. Furthermore, the demand for dietary supplements is growing due to the rising awareness of body weight management among all age groups worldwide. Dietary supplements help lead a healthier life by providing essential nutrients.

In nature, collagen is found exclusively in animals, especially in the flesh and connective tissues of mammals. Collagen is a part of the connective tissue in the skin that provides firmness, suppleness, and constant renewal of the skin cells. Collagen is vital for skin elasticity. With aging, the synthesis of collagen in the body reduces, causing weakness, fatigue, aches, pain, and an overall lack of energy. This sparked the need for external collagen supply to the body and led to the inception of the collagen supplement industry. Collagen supplements are intended to uphold a person's skin, hair, nails, and body tissues as metabolites of collagen assemble bone, skin, and ligaments by attracting fibroblasts that generate the synthesis of new collagen. In food, collagen is found mostly in the odd bits and tougher cuts of beef that contain connective tissue. Collagen is a vital component of connective tissue and is the most abundant protein in mammals, making up about 25–35% of the whole-body protein content.

Collagen and gelatin find their major application in dietary supplements, functional foods, beverages, confectionery, and desserts. It has been widely used as a food additive that improves the organoleptic properties of food products. For instance, using collagen in sausages and frankfurters improves the rheological properties and presence of animal nutritive fibers. In addition, desserts are characterized as sugary products that may not offer many health benefits other than the taste. Therefore, the use of collagen in the powdered form in dessert making improves the nutritional value of the desserts by providing essential protein and an amino acid that benefit in the production of collagen and elastin, resulting in healthier skin, inflammation sleep, and healthy hair growth. Also, trifles, aspic, marshmallows, candy corn, and confections such as peeps, gummy bears, fruit snacks, and jelly babies contain a large amount of gelatin.

Despite the recent economic slowdown, the global confectionery market is steadily increasing. This growth is majorly attributed to the growing population and affordability of these confections. In the beverage industry, collagen promotes the body's natural capacity to generate fatty tissues. Generally, collagen drinks claim to stimulate the collagen-making mechanism of the body, which reduces skin wrinkles and sagging of the skin. In Malaysia, various organizations are conducting R&D on collagen drinks. Malaysia Dairy Industries (MDI) has added collagen peptides in their nutritious probiotic drink, where collagen peptides serve as components required to synthesize collagen. In addition, vitamin C was added to the drink as an antioxidant and a vital co-enzyme in the biosynthesis of collagen. As a result, the 'vitagen collagen' drink was created to stimulate the growth of beneficial gut bacteria and radiate beauty from deep in the skin. Collagen is also used in some alcoholic beverages as the triple helix and rod-like structure of collagen is thermally labile and acts as the clarifying agent in cloudy alcoholic beverages by aggregation of the yeast and other insoluble particles. Bovine collagen in the solution form can also be used in beer refining and yeast preparation by chemical modification. Gelatin is used as a clarifying agent in winemaking and some non-alcoholic fruit juices.

In addition, the application of collagen in meat and fish products is expected to rise in the near future due to the rising production of processed meat and the growing population across the globe. For instance, according to the Worldwatch Institute's Nourishing the Planet Project for Vital Signs Online, worldwide meat production has tripled over the last four decades and increased by 20 percent in the last 10 years. Meanwhile, developed countries are consuming high quantities of meat, nearly double the quantity of developing countries. This mounting meat production is expected to increase the use of collagen for this application in the next few years.

Moreover, dairy is one of the major food processing areas in the world. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the global milk output in 2018 was 843 million tons, an increase of 2.2 percent from 2017, driven by production expansions in India, Turkey, the European Union, Pakistan, the U.S., and Argentina. This indicates the availability of a large amount of raw material for milk-based processed products.

The growing need to provide dairy products that are easy to prepare, stable over time, low in calories, and contain new textures, tastes, and appearances has led dairy processors to incorporate gelatin. Also, gelatin can be used in various dairy products such as yogurts, cream desserts, mousses, and a variety of low-fat dairy products such as cheese to improve the texture and stability of the product. Gelatin has proved to be an excellent alternative to fat in the milk products such as low-fat milk and yogurt. Gelatin is also used in the aeration and stabilization of the ice cream, which improves low-temperature conservation and prevents the formation of ice crystals during long-term conservation. It also improves ice cream's resistance to temperature variations. Combined with other texturing agents, it gives the ice cream a very characteristic texture and slows the melting of the ice cream in the mouth. While in cheese, spreads, margarine, and low-fat butter, gelatin is used to improve the stability and increase the shelf life of these products. It also aids the mouth feel of the low-fat milk-based products. The growing consumption of dairy products is directly related to the growing population. Also, improved milking technologies and dairy farm management result in increased milk production, which is indeed being used in the processing. Therefore, the application of gelatin in the dairy sector is expected to increase significantly in the next few years.

Therefore, the demand for collagen and gelatine is expected to propel in the coming years in the food industry. Over the last decade, there has been a significant rise in the demand for processed food, and the consumption of bakery & confectionery products has grown exponentially.

The growing awareness of protein consumption and dietary supplements drives the collagen market for food & beverage applications. These factors are expected to facilitate the overall collagen market during the forecast period, which is slated to register the highest CAGR of 6.9% to reach $8.64 billion by 2029, according to Meticulous Research®.

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