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Freeze dried collagen adds value and reduces waste

08 February 2024

Freeze Dry Industry’s (FDI) November 2022 launch of its range of eco-friendly organic collagen products into the domestic market, marks the successful conversion of an innovative business idea into a commercial reality.

Based on the Sunshine Coast, FDI’s range of world-first, Certified Organic collagen skincare and supplements range – Organic Collagen Australia – is set to provide benefits across the wider red meat value chain. MLA’s seed funding meant FDI was able to go out on a limb and explore how freeze-drying technology could be used to add value to traditionally low value agricultural by-products as well as reduce waste.

John Marten, MLA’s Program Manager – Food Innovation, said FDI’s successful product launch is a great example for other Australian businesses to follow.

“The trajectory from their initial discussions about how they could extract something of value from waste hides and pelts to where they are now – with a whole range of products of significantly greater value – is a great success story,” John said.

Fifth quarter key to expanding markets

Converting low value bovine and ovine inputs including glands and organs (or the fifth quarter of the carcase), into more valuable products is a key step in opening up new markets for Australian meat processors.

“The impact of valuing the fifth quarter is significant because it will allow us to play in world markets where we traditionally haven’t had a presence,” John said.

“Who would have thought that there was an opportunity to sell a range of collagen products in an up-market butchery? The reality is that there is a great story to be told and shared here and there is a logical adoption pathway for bovine collagen products to be sourced and sold by businesses that may not have traditionally been associated with a range of health and wellness products.”

MLA’s support of FDI’s research into how to extract food grade collagen from beef and sheep hides was a key first step, with the Organic Collagen Australia range now available online and at Eumundi Meats Noosa, whose products are organic, free range and pasture raised. Consumer demand has been strong, with turnover exceeding expectations since launching some 12 months ago at Eumundi Meats.

Meet the makers

FDI’s Michael Buckley and Fiona Dobbrick began their business journey with the goal of discovering which part of the bovine carcase could demonstrate a three to five times value uplift.

“Very quickly, we identified that bovine hides were severely undervalued, and collagen came out as the lead runner,” Fiona said.

MLA’s seed funding helped clear up any doubts that the collagen extraction process would be possible, with FDI’s early-stage experiments leading to the creation of a product with the desired amino acid protein profile. Low energy technology preserves the product through first freezing it and then removing the water. This produces a light weight, nutritious product that doesn’t require sugar or other additives to maintain freshness.

Five quick questions

What’s included in Organic Collagen Australia’s range of products?

Certified Organic capsules including collagen, liver, collagen and liver, collagen and spirulina, and collagen and strawberry, as well as a skincare range.

Describe the health benefits of these organic collagen and liver products?

Collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body, found in the bones, muscles, skin and tendons but as we age our collagen levels decline, so supplementation can be of benefit. Liver is one of the most nutritionally dense foods in the world and is packed full of essential nutrients, such as iron, vitamin A and B12. 

What bovine inputs have been used to make these products?

Hides and liver from Australian Certified Organic pasture-raised cattle.

Where is the product range available?

Organic Collagen Australia: and Eumundi Meats Noosa:

Are there other similar products MLA is helping to develop?

MLA is actively investing with a number of Australian processors and technology providers to better understand the opportunities for value adding to the fifth quarter of bovine and ovine supply chains.