Modern Meadow and Evonik See a Bright Future for Animal-Free Collagen


New Jersey-based biotechnology company, Modern Meadow, has partnered with Evonik, a leader in specialty ingredients for the beauty and personal care industry, to create sustainable beauty products made with a bio-based alternative to animal collagen.

The partnership aims to combine Modern Meadow’s innovative bio-based collagen technology with Evonik’s expertise in beauty and personal care ingredients. The goal is to create new formulations and enhance existing products that are sustainable, clean, high-quality, and animal-free.

Modern Meadow says it has developed a solution for the cosmetic and skincare industry’s long-standing challenge of finding a safe and scalable replacement for animal-derived collagen. While animal collagen has been cost-effective, it has drawbacks such as the risk of infectious diseases, allergenicity, viral vector transmission, and unpleasant sensory qualities. A co-product of the meat industry, collagen is also a leading contributor to climate change and deforestation, among other issues.

Jennifer Aniston for Vital Proteins
Jennifer Aniston’s Vital Proteins’ is a top-selling collagen supplement | Courtesy

But existing alternatives have been unable to match the efficacy of animal collagen, the company says. Modern Meadow’s collagen is made via precision fermentation to reproduce the human type III collagen, which is linked to healthy skin. It is sustainably sourced from non-animal origins, making it both environmentally friendly and bio-active. It promotes the skin’s natural ability to produce more collagen III, providing powerful anti-aging factors.

“We are thrilled to be partnering with Modern Meadow to bring its innovative fermentation-based technology to the beauty and personal industry,” Ricardo Gobbi, Head of Indirect Procurement Americas at Evonik, said in a statement. “As consumers become more sustainability conscious, the world’s beauty and cosmetic brands need products that align with their values.”

Modern Meadow says its vegan collagen improves both the look and health of the skin, providing a comprehensive package of anti-aging benefits. The ingredient also has a bio-stimulation effect, increasing collagen production in the skin.

“As demand for sustainable products grows, the beauty industry must have access to the real, clean ingredients required to create animal-free beauty products to help support environmental safety and biodiversity,” said Catherine Roggero-Lovisi, CEO of Modern Meadow.

Modern Meadow has brought its tech to a number of categories. Most recently, it announced a partnership with Singtex to develop sustainable outdoor apparel. The companies partnered on a bio-derived membrane-based material that’s safer for humans and the environment while also providing consumers with a superior waterproof, breathable, and durable performance-based material.

In February, the biotech company partnered with Tory Burch on the label’s first plant-based leather tote, the Ella Bio.

The Tory Burch Ella Bio bag
The Tory Burch Ella Bio bag | Courtesy

“The Ella Bio meets our design, quality, and durability expectations and is made with an innovative new material, BioFabbrica Bio-Tex, which feels and looks like leather but is made from 64 percent USDA-certified bio-based content,” Jennifer Gootman, global head of sustainability & ESG strategy at Tory Burch, said in a statement in February. “It is a great example of a growing movement towards ‘next-gen’ materials that take inspiration from nature but are engineered to have a lower environmental impact.”

According to Roggero-Lovisi, consumer demand for products that are good for the planet is “ever accelerating.” The Ella Bio was crafted from Modern Meadow’s BioFabbrica Bio-Tex material that uses its non-GMO soy-based Bio Alloy plant protein.

The range of offerings from Modern Meadow build on its mission to deliver “innovation inspired by nature and powered by greener science,” Anna Bakst, Executive Chair of the Modern Meadow Board of Directors said in the company’s recent 2022 Impact Report.

“Since our founding, we have worked to research, develop, and bring to market with
our partners truly transformational bio-based solutions and products that are animal-free and use renewable and recyclable inputs,” she said. “From the very beginning, our mission has been to support a bright and healthy future for both people and the planet.”

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