Rising to the formulation challenge:

how can hydrolyzed collagen

help create high-protein food and

drink products with better taste,

texture and health appeal?


Dr. Sara De Pelsmaeker, Global Business Development, Rousselot Health & Nutrition


Copyright: AdobeStock


People worldwide have become more mindful of what they eat, with 37% of consumers globally reporting that they plan to increase their protein intake to eat and drink more healthily[1], while 68% and 54% of individuals are increasingly seeking out products with reduced sugar and fat levels, respectively[2]. At the same time, 72% of people said that texture is important to deliver an interesting eating experience in food and drinks, and 2 in 5 people consider flavor a key purchasing driver.3 When it comes to convenience, market research shows that consumer demand is shifting towards flexible options. Food and beverage product launches with ‘on-the-go’ label claims increased by 7% between 2015 and 20204, and the meal replacement, or snack food, market is expanding at a CAGR of 6.5% between 2019 and 20255.


Being a highly versatile ingredient, ProTake has the potential to take your high-protein (re)formulations to the next level. Suitable for a large application spectrum, it supports the development of protein-enriched, healthier functional food and drink products with great taste and texture


This more holistic approach to nutrition that guarantees both nutritional value and indulgence, has raised the bar for food and beverage manufacturers. Clearly, it’s no longer enough for products to just carry ‘high-protein’ claims, they need to have the right taste and texture too. This has created exciting opportunities for innovation across food and drink categories, but what are the challenges producers face when (re)formulating their products with higher protein content, lower sugar and fat levels, and the desired sensory properties?

The challenges ahead

(Re)formulating products to meet discerning consumer expectations poses a range of obstacles, as every ingredient that is removed needs to be replaced by a component with similar functionalities in terms of taste and texture. And adding nutrients to formulations, without compromising the sensory profile of food and beverages like baked goods, soups and bars, is just as complex.

Optimizing fortified food and beverages

Many food and drink categories, like bakery applications, are ideal vehicles for high-protein reformulation. But heat is a significant challenge in this space, as varieties such as brownies and cookies are baked at high temperatures that can compromise taste and texture, creating dry and insipid products. Removing fat and sugar to meet consumer expectations for health appeal can also result in losing the desired rich taste and mouthfeel of these foods. Similarly in soups, achieving great texture, alongside high protein content, can be difficult – particularly when removing fat. Indeed, reducing fat compromises the indulgent creaminess of soups that consumers know and love.

Liquid applications, and more specifically high-protein ready-to-mix powder drinks, also pose complex texture challenges for producers. Common problems include lumping that creates a visual caking effect and therefore an unpleasant eating experience. The question now is, how collagen can help manufacturers to formulate and deliver great-tasting, high-protein food and beverages like baked goods, soups and powder drinks?

Creating premium high-protein bars

There is no one-size-fits-all solution for all applications, but when it comes to achieving the desired product characteristics in bars, for example, it is key to select the right types and dosage of proteins. Different proteins have varying characteristics in terms of functionality, sensory properties, stability, molecular weight and nutritional value. So, depending on the raw material, formulation and production process – hardening, color change (browning) and cold flow may occur across a bar’s shelf life. Some proteins may also impart undesirable flavor off-notes or interfere with the coating, which can make it difficult to achieve the great taste, chewy or short texture and authentic shape that consumers expect from these products.

Understanding the challenge

Whey and caseinate proteins, for instance, are partly soluble ingredients (40-80%) with low water binding capacity and a molecular weight of 6-80 kDa and
18-30 kDa, respectively, that could in some formulas lead to cold flow and inconsistencies in texture outcomes. Meanwhile, soy and pea proteins possess a much lower solubility (<20%), but higher water binding capacity and molecular weight, of 140-393 kDa and 170-380 kDa, respectively — causing a grainy and short texture in bars, as well as a hard texture in products with a protein content of 15% or higher.

Mixing proteins with different molecular weights, is the answer to this complicated formulation challenge. More precisely, hydrolyzed collagen – used in combination with and complementary to other proteins of a higher molecular weight – can significantly help to overcome the various complex stability, sensory and nutritional challenges and support the development of great-tasting, high-protein bars with the desired soft, chewy and short texture.

ProTake™: tackling application challenges has never been easier

Hydrolyzed collagen can help manufacturers overcome their unique formulation challenges, but how to choose the right hydrolyzed collagen ingredient? Factors such as solubility in hot and cold liquid, easy dispersibility, and pH and heat stability are essential considerations for decision-making, and Rousselot’s Application Laboratory has specifically developed a new portfolio of hydrolyzed collagen solutions for high protein applications: ProTake™.

High-protein food formulation and beverages

ProTake’s heat resistance allows for applications like brownies and cookies to be baked at high temperatures without compromising taste and texture. And reducing sugar and fat in these applications is also simplified. With ProTake, manufacturers can successfully lower the fat and sugar content in food and beverages, including baked goods, by up to 55% and 16%, respectively, as the high protein concentration (up to 228%) restores mouthfeel. This means that producers can develop healthier, high-protein bakery varieties that have the same great flavor and texture as their full fat and sugar counterparts. Similarly in soups, ProTake acts as a binding, emulsifying, stabilizing and thickening agent, thanks to its high water-binding capacity. This supports the production of creamy, indulgent soups with lower sugar and fat levels but higher protein content. And ProTake’s stability in various pH conditions means that it is also suitable for blending in recipes, beyond soup applications, like chocolate drinks.

High-protein powder blend production

Texture issues in high-protein flavor blends, premixes and ready to drink (RTD) powder formulations can effectively be addressed with ProTake. This solution guarantees the desired viscosity in these applications to avoid a watery mouthfeel. And thanks to its solubility, even at high concentrations, ProTake can prevent lumping and caking in fortified powder beverages.

Copyright: Adobestock


High-protein bar development

When it comes to bars, be it energy, snack, meal replacement or sports nutrition, ProTake can support the development of great-tasting high-protein varieties with the desired soft, chewy and short texture. Mixing proteins with different molecular weights can allow producers to overcome the various complex stability, sensory and nutritional challenges associated with formulating high-protein bars. A highly soluble (100%) and light (molecular weight of 5 kDa) ingredient, ProTake hydrolyzed collagen – used in combination with other proteins of a higher molecular weight – has the ability to manage defects in bars such as cold flow and hardening. This means manufacturers can achieve the desired end product characteristics, with the result being a bar with an aerated texture and structured shape that meets – and exceeds – consumer expectations.

Recipe idea

ProTake’s excellent organoleptic properties mean that bars can be (re-)formulated with higher collagen content, great taste and texture. In this sports nutrition bar, more than 35% of the energy value comes from proteins.

Co-creating with the right partner

Hydrolyzed collagen can help producers overcome their unique formulation challenges in the high-protein bar, wider food and beverage, and powder applications space, but is that enough to continually navigate the ever-changing market landscape? With a broad portfolio of solutions, understanding of consumer insights and in-dept technical and scientific know-how, Rousselot can assist industry players throughout the product development process, providing not only ingredients, but also (re)formulation, innovation, regulatory and marketing support. Our R&D and application experts will be right there where you need them most, sharing their knowledge and guiding you from concept to consumer. Acting as an extension of your team, we will help you faster deliver healthier, high-protein food and beverages with great taste and texture that stand out on the retail shelf.

For more information on how ProTake hydrolyzed collagen and Rousselot’s expert support can help you (re)formulate your products effectively, visit ProTake:” ProTake: Unlocking Application Potential (




1 FMCG Gurus, 2020.
2. Innova consumer survey 2018/2019.
3 Innova consumer survey 2018/2019.
4 Innova Database.
5 Grand View Research