The study focused on examining the impact of various production processes on the undenatured type II collagen in various prototypes, with results showing that preservation of the ingredient was best in nutritional bars (approximately 100%), followed by chews (98%), gummies (96%), and dairy beverages (81%).
While incorporating collagen into food and drink products seems promising for supporting joint health, the vulnerability of these proteins to high temperatures or shifts in pH levels can compromise their efficacy, Amy Sunderman, director of R&D ingredients at Lonza, tells NutraIngredients.
The efficacy of functional foods and beverages often hinges on the resilience of their active constituents during production, and factors like elevated temperatures, humidity, and pH fluctuations during processing can impact the preservation of nutrient content, she explains.
To understand better how undenatured type II collagen is impacted by different production methods, a comprehensive dataset was compiled to ascertain the preservation of the ingredient across diverse processing conditions.
The study focused on conducting a proof-of-concept analysis to examine the impact of various production processes.
40 mg UC-II undenatured type II collagen, a patented collagen derived from chicken sternum cartilage, was incorporated into various food and beverage prototypes, and the content of collagen was compared in their pre-and post-manufacturing formats using an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay.
The findings revealed that the collagen generally withstood many of the processes well.
However, the authors note that while the study aimed to assess the collagen's survival through these production processes, it did not explore its long-term stability.
Sunderman notes that the results of the study should instil confidence in customers.
She says that the findings also help to give some assurance to brands launching new products in the food and beverage sector, who will be making significant investments, in terms of both time and money.
“Without assurance regarding an ingredient's performance under those conditions, the process can be arduous and costly, as it often entails trial and error.
"This endeavour was conducted to provide customers with insights into the viability of the ingredient, guiding them on what to anticipate and highlighting processes in which it excels,” she states.
Challenges and solutions
Sunderman explains that the main challenge in the field of joint health and dietary supplements is ensuring consumer compliance.
She explains that, unlike a quick-fix solution, these supplements require regular consumption to show results, making a range of formats all the more helpful.
She states: “To address this challenge, incorporating ingredients into various delivery formats can enhance compliance.
“This approach makes the experience enjoyable for consumers and something they eagerly anticipate, rather than a chore. This effort aims to assist brands in supporting customers to adhere to ingredient usage, ultimately helping them experience the benefits more effectively.”
Collagen for joint health
Emily Navarro, global marketing manager at Lonza, emphasised that not all collagen is of the same quality.
She explains that this type two collagen is particularly relevant for joint health and is produced using a distinctive proprietary method, which employs gentle processing to maintain the integrity of the collagen's structure.
She notes: “In discussions with both brands and consumers, it's evident that understanding this distinction is crucial.
“Many individuals might unknowingly opt for general collagen without realising the specific benefits of type two collagen for joint health.
“Emphasising quality, each batch of our UC-II undenatured type II collagen undergoes purity testing by both GMP-trained staff and third-party certified labs."