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Capsugel launches natural vegetarian capsules with ‘premium properties’

By Stephen Daniells , 13-Mar-2012
Last updated the 13-Mar-2012 at 14:03 GMT

Capsugel launches natural vegetarian capsules with ‘premium properties’

Capsule manufacturer Capsugel has introduced a new vegetarian capsule made from pullulan – naturally fermented from tapioca – giving premium properties and options for organic supplements in the United States.

The capsule, launched at last week’s Engredea show in Anaheim, is described as a clean-label product that can allow for several other important product claims, including vegetable-origin, preservative-free, gluten-free, starch-free, allergen-free, and non-GMO. 

The Plantcaps range is also said to provide an important option for organic supplements, with restrictions against organic labeling language on organic ingredients encapsulated in other non-pullulan polymers.

“Certifying agencies have allowed organic labeling for some ingredients delivered in pullulan capsules in the United States due to the capsules' naturally fermented source,” said Mark Vieceli, Director of Sales for Capsugel Americas Region.

Consumer demands

According to data from Euromonitor, over 50% of consumers are willing to pay a premium price for a natural product and more than 48% say they are willing to pay more for organic products.

Additional data from the Natural Marketing Institute indicates that, in the US, 35% of supplement users say that a vegetarian or non-animal source is important when choosing a supplement, up from 26% in 2006 - and this group is among the most frequent users of supplements.

The capsule range satisfies dietary needs with its GRAS status, Kosher and Halal certifications, and approval by the Vegetarian Society, said the company.  The product is also suitable for the Asian regulatory environment, especially for use in Japan.

Crystal-clear

In addition to its label benefits, the capsules also boast crystal-clear transparency with high luster, said Capsugel.

“The look rounds out Plantcaps' far-reaching package of traits that appeal to the needs of the growing and very astute healthy lifestyle market, and helps us create a diverse and complete portfolio of vegetarian offerings,” explained Erasmo Schutzer, Capsugel's chief marketing officer.

Gelatin-like performance

The new pullulan-based capsules are said to offer a disintegration/dissolution profile equal to gelatin.  The shell is also said to help eliminate ‘spotting’ concerns that occur when Vitamin C is encapsulated in gelatin.

In addition, an excellent oxygen barrier allows masking of pungent tastes and odors from some ingredients such as garlic.

“Plantcaps presents all the benefits of a gelatin capsule, but in a vegetarian form,” added Schutzer. 

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