Gelatin and collagen: the natural way forward

Gelatin: A truly unique and natural gelling agent

Gelatin has been used for many centuries and it is now one of the most versatile ingredients applied in the commercial manufacturing of food.

Did you know that it was used by Egyptians over 3,000 years ago? Or that in the 15th century it played a leading role in the extravagant and sophisticated dishes that were presented at banquets for kings and aristocrats alike?

Nowadays, gelatin is very popular and it can be found in most kitchen cupboards. Furthermore, it is ready to be used in several culinary applications. Natural, free of additives and preservatives, safe and healthy, its popularity and consumption is well-established.

Gelatin is the best known gelling agent and it has several uses; not only in terms of the food industry, but also in, among other things, the pharmaceutical industry. Obtained from collagen rich materials by hot water extraction, gelatin is a natural ingredient that can be easily digested. It is composed of approximately 86% protein, 2% mineral salts and 12% water. It neither contains fat nor cholesterol, but it does hold 18 different amino acids, including 7 of the 8 that are essential for the human diet. Gelatin is therefore an excellent complement for food proteins and it results in a balanced intake of amino acids.

Cold soluble gelatin: a fast and convenient solution that requires neither heating nor cooking

The current applications, where the heating stage requires gelatin to be dissolved, sometimes complicate the processing or preparation of a product. To this end, PB Gelatins/PB Leiner has introduced cold soluble gelatin to the market. Cold soluble gelatin is commercialized in extra ne powder, which helps to speed up the gelling process.

Both CRYOGEL® and INSTAGEL® instant gelatin leaf powder have the same characteristics as traditional gelatin. This means that its melting behavior and its sensation in the mouth as well as its texture remains insuperable. Once you start stirring the cold soluble gelatin in a cold liquid (whether it be water, milk, fruit juice, etc.), it starts to dissolve. As there is no heating stage involved in the preparation, the cold soluble gelatin will immediately impact the viscosity, thickening or aeration of the product.

At this year’s FIE, PB Gelatins/PB Leiner will be showcasing its INSTAGEL® instant gelatin leaf powder, which is the most convenient ready-to-use cold soluble gelatin on the market. With 4 grams of INSTAGEL® replacing one gelatin leaf in any standard recipe, this is the quick and easy alternative for more cumbersome gelatin leaves.

Collagen: the most abundant protein in the animal kingdom

Collagen, the raw material for the production of gelatin, is present in animal bone, cartilage, tendons and skin, as a fiber- like protein that is present on support structures for vertebrates and invertebrates. Collagen is the most abundant protein both in the animal kingdom and in the human body – in fact, it makes up more than 30% of the total protein in the human body.

Like gelatin, collagen has a unique and distinct sequence of amino acids that characteristically contains 14% of hydroxyproline, 16% proline and 26% of glycine. Through enzymatic processes, these amino acid chains can be broken up into even smaller pieces than is the case for gelatin. These collagen peptides, as they are called, are even easier for the body to absorb and therefore have increased bioavailability. Indeed, collagen peptides can already be detected in the blood just 15 minutes after ingestion. Furthermore, with a protein content of over 91% they represent an excellent candidate for boosting the volume of protein in an extensive range of food applications. Several clinical studies have proven the health benefits of collagen peptides in relation to the skin, bones and joints, weight management and sports nutrition.

Over the past few years, consumer trends such as healthy aging, protein fortification, as well as beauty and medical nutrition, have driven the growth of the collagen peptides market. As the market and applications grow, product formulations become more sophisticated. To this end, food formulators and scientists are looking for collagen ingredients that meet the nutritional requirements as well as the technical advantages.

As an important protein that makes up more than 70% of the skin’s dry weight, collagen is particularly critical for the strength and resilience of the skin. It is synthesized by specific cells that are called fibroblasts and it is assembled in connective tissues. In the ageing process, the production of collagen by fibroblasts slows down and from age 25 its level diminishes within the body, leaving the first signs of ageing to appear; e.g. wrinkles, loss of skin elasticity and firmness.

Several scientific studies have shown an interest in regard to the oral ingestion of collagen peptides as a supplement to a healthy and balanced diet, in order to improve the properties of the skin. This would stimulate the growth of the fibroblasts that are present in the collagen, and in addition the growth of the elastin and hyaluronic acid synthesis that would trigger the improvement of skin hydration, elasticity and appearance.

A recent placebo-controlled double-blind clinical study in France carried out over a period of 56 days proved the positive effects of the oral intake of 10 grams SOLUGEL® in terms of skin net elasticity, firmness, as well as skin hydration.

Delivering a wide variety of nutritional and health benefits

PB Gelatins/PB Leiner’s latest product innovation – the SOLUGEL® BD SERIES – consists of agglomerated collagen peptides that are produced from high quality bovine materials. They result in better dispersibility and solubility, and as a consequence, the risk of dust and/or lump formation when dissolving in liquid is reduced to the greatest extent possible. This effectively makes them the ideal ingredient for ‘instant’ applications such as dry mix preparations.

The SOLUGEL® BD SERIES offers a wide variety of nutritional and health benefits. Furthermore, it has a neutral odor and flavor profile, which ensures they can also be used in a pure form in any liquid of choice. This allows them to be easily formulated into any recipe with a very limited impact on the smell and taste. Representing the best-in-class quality from the new range, SOLUGEL® Ultra BD collagen peptides can be consumed directly after dissolving in pure water without the need to add any flavors.

PB Gelatins/PB Leiner will be showcasing an innovative collagen smoothie powder mix at Food Ingredients Europe. Free from sweeteners, artificial colors and avors, but enriched with 5 grams of SOLUGEL® Ultra BD, this fruity smoothie powder mix is aimed at the natural, clean label and holistic beauty trends. This makes it especially attractive for young female consumers who are seeking products for the early prevention of aging. Its convenience and the ease with which it can be prepared are an additional bonus! Freshly made smoothies enriched with SOLUGEL® Ultra BD will be made and served at our booth during the event.

Hard and soft capsules with gelatin: a 100% natural delivery system

As an established global player with production sites in Asia, Europe, North America and South America, PB Gelatins/PB Leiner also supplies a wide variety of pharmaceutical gelatins that are used for hard and soft capsules. Hard gelatin capsules are a preferred medication delivery system throughout the world. Aesthetically pleasing, colored and easily recognizable, they are ideal for medicine requiring high bioavailability and ease of swallowing. Soft gelatin capsules are also used for medicines, food supplements and cosmetics. They represent one of the preferred solutions in terms of both ease of swallowing and bioavailability. Gelatin soft capsules can contain either liquid or semi-solid fillings.

PB Gelatins/PB Leiner’s gelatin has the desired properties for making high quality hard and soft gelatin capsules. Its specific Bloom and viscosity profile provide the correct film-forming properties, while excellent color and turbidity characteristics ensure high quality, transparent capsules. In addition, our products come with Kosher and Halal certification. Our global production footprint and our track record as a long-term partner with most industry leaders confirms our position as a reliable supplier of all different types of pharmaceutical gelatin.

It is clear from the above that gelatin has several uses, not only in the food industry but also in the pharmaceutical industry. And thanks to its many characteristics and versatile applications, a bright future lies ahead of it.

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BY Telma Garcia, Global Product and Applications Manager

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