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Monitor: Consumer research on collagen shows how much education is needed

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The Nutrition Business Journal’s new Collagen Report reveals that consumers lack knowledge about one of the fastest growing ingredients in supplements.

Natural Products Industry Health Monitor, May 12, 2022
 
As the world emerges, haltingly from COVID-19, new challenges emerge. In this feature, New Hope Network provides an ongoing update on those challenges and the opportunities they hold. Look for the Industry Health Monitor every other Friday to learn the major news that is affecting the natural products market immediately and the less obvious insights that could dictate where the market may struggle or thrive in the months to come.

Constrained by regulation, consumer education has always been a challenge for dietary supplement brands but research in a new Nutrition Business Journal report illustrates why it can be so important. The NBJ Collagen Report explores one of the fastest growing ingredient markets in the supplement industry and a survey featured in the report reveals that consumer sophistication around collagen is lagging far behind sales.

 

That confusion and speculation could be showing up in the shopping cart too. That consumers don’t seem to have settled on a favorite collagen source suggests they haven’t heard much about which sources might be better. Asked which source they prefer, the most common response was “I don’t have a preference.”

Whether or not that confusion is getting in the way of sales is not clear. The collagen supplement market grew at a rate of 14.6% in NBJ’s 2021 estimates, nearly twice as fast as the supplement market overall. In the same survey, however, more than a third of the people who said they do not take collagen cited a lack of information as a reason, suggesting that growth could go even higher.

 

Education is an obvious answer for both brands and retailers and it’s important to note that the kinds of education that consumers might need do not have to run afoul of regulations on disease claims. Healthier skin and nails is not a disease. Claims around joint health are easily managed. Talking about quality and the different properties of different collagen sources—beef, fish, etc.—doesn’t have to be a regulatory concern either.

At $222 million, collagen is a promising market with a lot of runway left for growth and it’s a great opportunity for brands and retailers to work together. New consumers looking for solutions that go far beyond skin and joint health could be brought into the market.

The supplement industry may find itself in an odd position on education, but when it comes to collagen, they’re in the starting position, with multiple routes to a bigger market

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