Capsugel sees increase in Licaps demand as product manufacturers seek ‘best solutions for challenging ingredients’


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Capsugel sees increase in Licaps demand as product manufacturers seek ‘best solutions for challenging ingredients’

Related tags Krill oil Dietary supplements

Challenging ingredients like krill oil and fish oil are driving demand for Capsugel’s Licaps liquid-filled hard capsule technology, says the company, as Healthy Directions becomes the latest manufacturer to use the capsules for its Krill Omega Defense supplements.

Connie Hallquist, president of Healthy Directions, said that that the capsules allow the products to "stand out in a competitive marketplace"​ because of their ability to mask the taste and odor, which can be a common concern for fish oil products. Healthy Directions is a direct-to-consumer nutritional supplement retailer and wholly-owned subsidiary of Helen of Troy Limited.


The market for krill oil supplements has been growing steadily in recent years, with products appearing to answer consumer demand for an alternative to fish oil supplements, and the smaller capsules and the message of ‘improved consumer experience’ resonating with some consumers.

Indeed, data from Nielsen indicated that krill recording an $18.7 million increase in value sales in 2012-2013.

Capsugel survey
Data from a consumer survey. Source: Capsugel

Krill oil is a delicate ingredient, said Capsugel, and it requires an encapsulation technology to ensure proper delivery and consumer satisfaction. Data from a market survey commissioned by the company suggested that when it comes to odor and taste, consumers preferred krill oil doses delivered via Licaps capsule technology compared with other dosage forms, such as soft gels.

Licaps vs softgels

“Why is Krill Oil a problem in softgels?  Primarily because softgels contain plasticizers which create microchannels in gelatin that allow oxygen to enter and odors to escape,” ​Missy Lowery, senior manager of marketing for Capsugel, Americas Region, told NutraIngredients-USA.

“The Licaps capsule is made from fish gelatin that has no plasticizers, so it protects the ingredient and blocks the escape of odors. Many softgel manufacturers will add fragrances to mask the odor, but these fragrances change over time to something that smells like old chocolate to many. 

“Krill oil has one of the highest turnover rates of ingredients (Capsugel SORD Study, 2013—averaging 50% turnover of starting and stopping), and we believe this odor issue may be one of the contributing elements.  The Licaps delivery form helps to solve the problem and provides a quality stable product without adding additional ingredients or fragrances.”


Peter Zambetti, Director of Global Business Development for Health and Nutrition at Capsugel, added that the company is experiencing an increase in demand for liquid-filled encapsulation options for dietary supplements. “Our Licaps capsules deliver high levels of protection and enable optimal benefit of our customers’ products – which is fueling an uptake of Licaps capsules in the health and nutrition marketplace,”​ he said.

The capsules, which are available in vegetarian and gelatin options, are made from fish gelatin. 

Healthy Directions follows other manufacturers in using the capsules for krill oil delivery. In 2012, Mercola announced it would be using the Licaps technology​ for a range of products, such as krill oil and ubiquinol.

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