Capsules still rule the roost for delivery formats, says Lonza

By Stephen Daniells

- Last updated on GMT

© Winai_Tepsuttinun / Getty Images
© Winai_Tepsuttinun / Getty Images

Related tags Lonza capsugel delivery formats Dietary supplements capsules

Despite a range of new and unique dosage forms entering the market, capsules are still the preferred format for global consumers, with innovative new capsule technologies giving brands the opportunity to stand out in a crowded marketplace, says Lonza.

While many brands were showcasing their alternative delivery formats, such as gummies, oral strips, and poprocks at Expo West 2023 in Anaheim, CA, Lonza used the occasion to launch its our newest innovation in the capsule space: Capsugel Wave technology.

Capsugel Wave technology is designed to enable the combination of oil- and water-based ingredients into one capsule while achieving a gradated visual effect.

“This new technology unlocks a variety of new innovations for multi-benefit products,” Emily Navarro, MS, RD, Global Marketing Manager, Lonza Capsules & Health Ingredients, told NutraIngredients-USA.  “For instance, an immunity product could combine water-soluble vitamin C with oil-soluble vitamin D. Or, a sleep product could combine lavender oil and water-soluble melatonin.

“Now more than ever, consumers want more out of their dietary supplements, and that includes an enhanced visual appeal,” added Navarro. “With Capsugel Wave technology, the oil- and water-phase can either remain the natural color of the ingredient, or each phase can be tinted with color from natural food-based sources. Due to the immiscible nature of the oil- and water-phases, the colors remain mostly separated, creating a unique wave-like effect.”

Since launching at Expo West, the response has been “overwhelmingly positive”, said Navarro. The company is now working hard with customers to create customized solutions using the wave technology to market, she added. “Stay on the lookout for new developments and product launches in this space!”

Capsule market share

Lonza is a leader in capsule technology, having acquired Capsugel in 2017 in a deal worth $5.5 billion​.

“Research shows that, despite the range of new and unique dosage forms entering the market, capsules are preferred by 44% of consumers globally—that’s 132% higher than the preference for softgels and 5% higher than tablets,” said Navarro.

“And for good reason, compared to other dosage forms—such as soft gels, tablets, or powder-filled capsules—Capsugel liquid-filled capsules offer endless innovation opportunities for brands, while delivering on non-negotiable consumer values like convenience, efficacy, and aesthetic appeal.”

Navarro added that brands can differentiate their products by leveraging the versatility of capsules with vibrant, food-based colors or with a flavor and aroma coating to create a distinct sensory experience. The company also offers capsules made from vegan polymers to allow brands to meet consumer demand for plant-based and vegetarian or vegan products.

The company’s top selling dosage form is Capsugel liquid-filled capsules, said Navarro.

“Developed using a proprietary capsule design and fusion process, Capsugel liquid-filled capsules combine a patented, specially designed capsule with proprietary micro-spray sealing technology for a unique, liquid-filled capsule that is tamper-evident, as well as leak- and clump-resistant,” she explained. “While other liquid-filled dosage forms, such as softgels, are more permeable to oxygen, our liquid-filled hard polymer capsule shell resists vapor transfer, creating an oxidation barrier and protecting ingredients from degradation.”

Market outlook

The company is responsive to not only market demand for novel capsule technology, but also regulatory pressures, said Navarro.

“For example, TiO2—titanium dioxide—has traditionally been used to create a bright-white opaque capsule that consumers favor, but with the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) classifying TiO2 as an unsafe food additive, capsule innovators have had to find alternative solutions,” she said.  

“TiO2-free capsules—such as Lonza’s plant-based Capsugel Vcaps Plus WHITE OPAL HPMC capsule—enable brands to both ensure global compliance and create that bright white color that consumers know and love.”

Opportunities with Delivery Formats

Experts from SPINS, Twinlab, and Amin Talati Wasserman will explore the opportunities and challenges with delivery formats in a webinar, hosted by NutraIngredients-USA.

The Opportunities with Delivery Formats​ webinar will broadcast at 12pm EST on April 27. To register for FREE, please click HERE​.

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