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Collagen & Gelatin: Not Your Average Protein Sources

Hydrolyzed collagen and gelatin are animal-based proteins that have recently gained popularity within the food and supplement industry. Gelatin and collagen possess similar amino acid profiles, including essential amino acids which the body uses for internal protein and collagen synthesis.

These wonderful benefits have made collagen and gelatin hot ingredients in Canadian food products. However, it is important to note that while providing the consumer with essential amino acids, gelatin and collagen are not considered complete proteins. For those who might be wondering “What is a complete protein?” a complete protein is defined by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) as a protein source which provides all essential amino acids. Additionally, food products which provide a complete protein source and have a Protein Rating of 20 or more are considered by the CFIA to be sources of protein and can be labelled in this manner. When it comes to gelatin and collagen, the CFIA has given them a Protein Efficiency Rating of ‘0’ meaning they are low quality proteins and thus would not contribute to a ‘source of protein’ claim.

Wanting to use innovative protein-based ingredients as sources of protein and label products in this manner is not a novel idea for the industry. A few years back we saw companies using cheaper alternatives to whey protein, such as free amino acids and creatine monohydrate, and declaring them as protein sources. While amino acids and creatine are known to be involved in protein synthesis within the body, they would not contribute to a ‘source of protein” claim on the food product’s label.

As for our new hot protein sources, collagen and gelatin, they can be included as ingredients in a food product, however you must be cautious of how you are marketing the product. As discussed above, positioning the ingredients as contributing to a source of protein claim would not be considered compliant. You also cannot market your food product as a source of amino acids or call out any of the amino acids provided by collagen or gelatin. Having said this, there are ways to market your gelatin and/or collagen containing-products if calling out amino acids is important to you. The Natural and Non-Prescription Health Products Directorate (NNHPD) has published a monograph for hydrolyzed collagen which allows for the following protein-focused claims to be used on the product label:
• Source of the essential amino acids histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, valine which are used for the maintenance of good health and involved in protein synthesis
• Source of the non-essential amino acids alanine, arginine, aspartic acid, glutamic acid, glycine, proline, serine, tyrosine which are involved in protein synthesis
• Source of the essential amino acid lysine to help in collagen formation.

Our team of labelling and licensing specialists at Quality Smart Solutions are available and ready to discuss any regulatory challenges or marketing questions you may have. Contact us today to discuss how we can be your solution!

Quality Smart Solutions is an end-to-end compliance solutions expert which has been assisting clients for 10 years in the areas of Dietary Supplements/NHPs, Foods, Cosmetics, Medical Devices, OTC drugs and Medical Marijuana. Ask us for details by calling 1-800-396-5144 or visit our website at www.qualitysmartsolutions.com

 

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[1] Protein Rating = Protein in a Reasonable Daily Intake x Protein Efficiency Ratio (CFIA, 2016)