The Non-GMO Prohect verification relates to the vegetarian capsules Vcaps Plus (a hydroxypropyl methylcellulose (HPMC) capsule) and Plantcaps (pullulan capsules derived from tapioca).
“While Capsugel has always stated that these capsules are also non-GMO through our own self-certification standards, this verification from the third-party Non-GMO Project offers certification of the quality of the capsules,” said Mark Vieceli, Director of Sales, Marketing and Business Development for Capsugel in North America.
“It is our goal to proactively bring new value to customers. We believe our Non-GMO Project verification will help our customers expedite their process for applying for verification for their finished products.”
The announcement was welcomed by Dr Michael Lelah, Technical Director for NOW Foods. The Bloomingdale, Ill. company approached Capsugel earlier this year to discussed the importance of a third-party verification as an endorsement of their self-certification.
“Consumers want to know that the products they consume are non-GMO, and as a leading manufacturer of natural products, we have been an early adopter and advocate for participation in the Non-GMO Project,” said Lelah. “Our partnership with Capsugel is an example of how suppliers and manufacturers can work together to meet consumer needs.”
Vieceli told us that the company has been approached by a number of companies and since they announced the verification, they have been approached by even more.
“This is a very strong movement in the industry fueled by a number of retailers who consider this an extremely important issue for their customers.”
Vieceli added that the cost of the certification process is negligible—primarily due diligence—and so there will be no price impact.
“The value to both our customers and the DS consumer is tremendous since it speaks to an issue they find extremely important.”
Over $3.5 billion in sales
The non-GMO food and supplement category is the fastest growing sector in the entire natural products industry, with non-GMO product sales recently surpassing $3.5 billion, but the opportunities are countered by the significant challenges of attaining non-GMO verification, particularly for supplements.
At the forefront of the labeling initiative is the Non-GMO Project, which was launched in 2010. Verified product sales carrying the label recently exceeded $3.5 billion, and the Non-GMO Project has gone from 194 verification program enrollment inquiries in the second quarter of 2012 to 797 inquiries during the same period this year.
Capsugel’s Plantcaps capsules offer the best oxygen barrier of all plant-based products, masking pungent odors and protecting sensitive ingredients, said the company. Organic supplement manufacturers in the United States using Plantcaps benefit from “Made with Organic Ingredients” labeling when delivering organic ingredients.
The low-moisture Vcaps Plus is ideal for moisture-sensitive ingredients and dry herbal products, added Capsugel.
Vcaps Plus and Plantcaps capsules are already Kosher- and Halal-certified, approved by the Vegetarian Society, and Vegan-certified.