The company is based in Greyslake, IL in the heart of one of major meat processing areas in the United States and originally went under that banner. Founded as Greyslake Gelatin, the company, founded in 1922, began with gelatin products. In 1982 the company rebranded as Great Lakes Gelatin.
Along the way the company introduced hydrolyzed collagen products to the market, said president Jim Burkett. The family owned company was acquired by WM Partners in late 2020, which has lighted a fire under the marketing strategy.
Not anti aging, but welcoming aging
Burkett said from the beginning of the WM Partners ownership tenure, it was recognized that the brand had untapped growth potential.
“We wanted to expand that platform, and that was part of the idea to turn it into Great Lakes Wellness,” Burkett told NutraIngredients-USA.
While some other collagen brands are focusing on sports performance or beauty benefits, Burkett said Great Lakes is taking a whole lifestyle approach to collagen consumption. That is, you’ll consumer collagen for your whole life, and the products can be beneficial in helping consumers to age gracefully.
“We wanted to take a different perspective than some of the other companies out there. A lot of the narrative is how consumers can escape aging. We don’t think it is something that people should be afraid of,” he said.
“Aging is living. So, for anyone who’s realized they're not 25 anymore, our products provide physical wellness support plus a fresh attitude to flip the script on aging. We want to help consumers spend less time worrying about a number, and instead confidently welcome their age, whatever it is, and enjoy what life is really about,” he added.
Catching a market wave
The company’s refresh seems to be catching the market at a favorable time. In addition to the brisk economic recovery generally, the market for collage products is doing particularly well. Collagen sales began booming several years ago as the ingredient expanding into sports nutrition.
A more recent report postulated that the collagen market, for all its growth, is still in a formative stage. Drawing from lessons taken from the market histories of omega-3s and probiotics, the report forecasts the market for hydrolyzed collage peptides is likely to grow at about 8% CAGR in the 2020-2024 time frame.
And SPINS data from the 2020-2021 time frame found that collagen supplements with a beauty claim increased by 64% over the past year, accounting for more than $64 million of an overall beauty from within market valued at more than $107 million.
WM Partners has assembled an impressive portfolio of health and wellness brands. The lineup includes Neocell, another collagen manufacturer, which the firm acquired in 2017. The company also acquired plant-based nutrition pioneer Vega last month.