Capsugel has four vegetarian capsules in its portfolio: Vcaps, Vcaps Plus, DRcaps, and Plantcaps capsules. These four products had already been certified vegetarian by the Vegetarian Society in the UK. For the vegan certification, Capsugel chose a certifcation procedure offered by a US-based organization called Vegan Action.
Customers asking for certification
“We had a number of inquiries from customers if we had vegan certification. Our global group did a search of different certifying bodies,” Capsugel spokeswoman Missy Lowery told NutraIngredients-USA. “The process of certification (that Vegan Action offered) was very through.”
“There are a number of certifications that we have, and our list is probably the most exhaustive in the industry, especially from the capsule perspective,” she said.
The term “vegan” is defined as containing no animal ingredients or animal by-products (to include honey and sugar refined with bone char), using no animal ingredient or by-product in the manufacturing process, and not being tested on animals by any company or independent contractor.
According to the Vegan Action website, in order to use the Certified Vegan logo a company must demonstrate the following for its product:
- The product does not contain meat, fish, fowl, animal by-products (including silk or dyes from insects), eggs or egg products, milk or milk products
- There is no animal testing of ingredients or finished products by supplier, producer, manufacturer or independent party
- The company must verify that its suppliers used no animal products were in the manufacturing of ingredients
- The product may contain no known animal-derived GMOs or genes used to manufacture ingredients or finished products.
“(The new certification) is an expansion of the appeal of our plant-based capsules into a very targeted niche in the booming life-style driven market with its wide variety of health, dietary, and cultural requirements,” said Pete Zambetti, global director of business development for health and nutrition for Capsugel.
Capsugel advertises the plant-based capsules as being free of additives, preservatives, allergens, starch, and gluten as well as non-GMO and Kosher and Halal certified. “The demand for Vegan certification is growing. This is a group of customers for whom core values drive purchase decisions,” added Zambetti.
“In addition, by having our empty vegetarian capsules certified vegan, we also can help our supplement manufacturing customers expedite their process of applying for vegan certification for their finished products,” Zambetti said.
The market for products making a vegetarian and/or vegan claim is growing. According to Capsugel’s data, in the United States, 35% of supplement users say that a vegetarian or non-animal source is important when choosing a supplement, up from 26% in 2006; this market segment is among the most frequent users of supplements. In a recent study of supplement users in Europe, more than 45% said they would be more likely to purchase a supplement if they knew it was in a vegetarian, plant-based capsule.
And the data show that supplement users in the US who shop based on vegetarian concerns are the more committed users, Lowery said.
“From our perspective they are making active decisions based on a vegetarian lifestyle. That to me is a large enough group of potential consumers for our customers to need a capsule of the quality necessary to approach that group,” Lowery said.
“That group also tends to take more supplements than the average supplement user. They take 4.1 supplements per day as opposed to an average of 3.4 for all supplement users,” she said.