Capsugel Launches Plantcaps™ Capsules, a More Natural Alternative Pullulan Capsule

March 09, 2012

A natural vegetarian capsule with premium properties zeroes in on savvy growing “green” market  

Capsugel, the world’s leading hard capsule manufacturer, has introduced Plantcaps™ capsules, a plant-based capsule made from pullulan – naturally fermented from tapioca – for a more extensive and distinctive appeal to the booming and discerning healthy lifestyle market worldwide.

“Because it is made of pullulan – a vegetable-derived, water-soluble polysaccharide produced through a natural fermentation process – Plantcaps is a more natural alternative.  This capsule provides a premier balance of performance and purity for smart ‘green’ consumers around the globe,” said Mark Vieceli, Director of Sales for Capsugel Americas Region.

Plantcaps also provides an important option for customers distributing organic supplements in the United States, which restricts 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,” Vieceli clarified.

Plantcaps is 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.  In addition, it satisfies dietary needs with its GRAS status, Kosher and Halal certifications, and approval by the Vegetarian Society.  The product is also suitable for the Asian regulatory environment, especially for use in Japan.

The capsule’s beautiful crystal-clear transparency with high luster further evokes a natural image.  “The look rounds out Plantcaps’ far-reaching package of traits that appeal to the needs of the growing and very astute healthy lifestyle market,” said Erasmo Schutzer, Capsugel’s Chief Marketing Officer, “and helps us create a diverse and complete portfolio of vegetarian offerings.”

Along with Plantcaps capsules, Capsugel’s vegetarian capsule portfolio includes the standard Vcaps® capsule, the world’s best-selling vegetarian capsule; Vcaps® Plus capsules with appealing brand and color options; and DRcaps® capsules with modified release.

Globally, more than 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.   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 – and this group 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.

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

Capsugel developed the new high quality pullulan to offer robust performance with a wide range of ingredients. The capsule provides ease of formulation while still maintaining a disintegration/dissolution profile equal to gelatin.  In addition, its shell can also help eliminate “spotting” concerns that occur when Vitamin C is encapsulated in gelatin, and because pullulan offers the best oxygen barrier of all available plant-based products, Plantcaps can even help mask pungent tastes and odors from some ingredients such as garlic. And like a gelatin capsule, Plantcaps offers excellent machineability on all capsule filling machines.

About Capsugel
Capsugel is a global leader in innovative dosage forms and solutions for the healthcare industry.  Offering a comprehensive array of products and services, from hard gelatin, liquid-filled, and vegetarian capsules, to innovative R&D Equipment and liquid formulations as part of its Licaps® Dosage Delivery System, Capsugel is at the forefront of drug and ingredient delivery innovation providing support to customers from formulation to final production.  For more information, visit