Earlier in March, the firm inaugurated its first fish collagen peptide plant built in Hainan via a joint venture with local aquatic product supplier and processing firm Hainan Xiangtai Group.
Prior to that, the Belgian firm has been supplying bovine and pork derived collagen and gelatin via its seven other plants located in countries including China, USA, Argentina, and Germany.
Speaking to NutraIngredients-Asia, Yingying Wu, global product manager health & nutrition, PB Leiner, said that demand for collagen peptide has picked up five to six years ago for its beauty benefits, but its use for joint health and a dietary source of protein was on the rise.
“The trend of collagen peptides from just a niche ingredient that is mainly serving the females, focusing only on beauty benefits as a supplement in the form of pills was the case in Asia and China for many years.
“However, the trend shifted around five, six years ago and is booming in the US and in Europe, where collagen peptide is used as a health ingredient and not just for beauty.
“Joint health is an increasingly important benefit for collagen. But there are also other benefits, such as using collagen peptides as a source of protein,” said Wu.
An example of product innovation could be an “all in one” supplement where collagen is consumed for beauty, as a dietary source of protein, as well as for joint health in individuals who play sports.
“We see brands realise the fact that collagen can be an excellent source of protein for women who want to take care of themselves, to build a good body shape, to be able to continue to exercise and prevent sports injury for instance.
“When consumed as a source of protein, you will feel a sense of satiety for a longer period of time and therefore, you do not need to consume a lot of other food as energy and that helps you to restrict your diet. On top of that, people already know about collagen’s beauty benefits.
“This concept of using collagen as a source of protein, plus different health benefits as a one for all supplementation is what we believe how collagen is going to evolve in Asia,” she said.
This also means that companies can capture a wider group of audience, including younger women and even men who could consume collagen as a sports nutrition product for maintaining joint health.
As for the reason for PB Leiner to venture into the fish collagen peptide market, Wu said that the ingredient could be accepted by a wider group of consumers as compared to bovine and pork collagen due to religious concerns.
“People are open to different sources of collagen, the market is becoming more and more sophisticated, and brands are looking for product differentiation,” she added.
So far, the company’s largest collagen peptide markets in Asia are in Japan, South Korea, China, Taiwan, and Thailand.
It will be delivering its first batch of fish collagen peptide – derived from fish skin and fish scale – produced at the Hainan plant in mid-June to international markets.
Examples of the finished products that these fish collagen peptides could be made into include 1) pure collagen powder, 2) collagen water, 3) collagen shots, 4) collagen bars, 5) tablets and capsules.
Three types of fish collagen peptides have been developed by the firm, namely 1) SOLUGEL Optima FD – a 2000 molecular weight agglomerate powder that is easy to dissolve, 2) SOLUGEL Optima FP – a fine powder which could be incorporate into shots, and 3) SOLUGEL Supra FP – an ultra-low molecular weight powder that could be made into tablets and capsules.
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