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Capsule innovations by Fine Foods unveiled at Vitafoods 2024
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Capsule evolution: How innovative capsule technology is shaping the future of health and wellness

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The European food supplement market is evolving rapidly, with Mintel reporting that capsules remain the predominant delivery format, accounting for 37% of last year's product launches in the region.

This trend highlights the consumer preference for convenient and effective methods to enhance their health and wellbeing. In response to these evolving consumer preferences, Fine Foods & Pharmaceuticals N.T.M. S.p.A. has unveiled a range of innovations to enhance traditional capsules’ versatility. A notable innovation is an evolution in capsule design that overcomes longstanding technological challenges, while offering multiple benefits to manufacturers and consumers.

Traditional capsules, with their elegant form and ease of use, have consistently been preferred by consumers. They are easily recognisable, simple to swallow, and suitable for a wide range of active ingredients.

However, it is necessary to incorporate excipients and additives to achieve the desired technological properties, and this constrains the space available for active ingredients. Additionally, particle size uniformity is essential to prevent demixing.

Fine Foods introduced pioneering innovations at Vitafoods 2024 – an event to showcase the commitment to advancing capsule technology and providing outstanding service to customers across various industries.

Fine Foods' latest innovation directly tackles these challenges. By using advanced technologies and expertise in capsule development, Fine Foods designed solutions that preserve the advantages of traditional capsules, and introduce new possibilities for formulation and delivery.

This innovative capsule design has key advantages:

  • Enables development of innovative formulationswhich were once challenging to achieve ​By overcoming limitations related to technological and physical properties of ingredients (such as powders, crystals, pellets or oils) it is possible to find original solutions and new combinations of active substances, leading to enhanced product attractiveness and consumer satisfaction. This opens a wide range of formulation possibilities, enabling the creation of bespoke products to meet specific consumer needs and preferences.
  • Reducing additives/excipients and overcoming technological challenges​ This increases the amount of active ingredients in the final product and meets the growing demand for clean-label supplements. Additionally, it may respond to the compelling needs of consumers, particularly younger generations and seniors, for ‘all-in-one’ solutions that reduce daily supplement intake.
  • Modified release formulations​ Sustained release formulations, designed to slowly release active ingredients in the body over time have many advantages. This includes optimal absorption of nutrients to minimise potential side effects, reducing daily doses of food supplements and marketing differentiation due to unique combinations with fast-acting ingredients. Gastro-resistant capsules resist acidic stomach conditions and release active components in the intestine, protecting the gastric mucosa from potentially irritating ingredients or preventing their degradation. Direct delivery in the intestine helps to create better targeted products and minimises the risk of unwanted side effects.
  • Addresses stability issues ​Addresses stability issues reducing the risk of degradation and ensuring product stability until the end of shelf life. These issues are linked to interactions among active ingredients, excipients, and capsule shell.
  • Aesthetics​ Combining different active ingredients creates appealing and coloured capsules. This enhances the product’s visual appeal and contributes to brand differentiation and consumer engagement.

Fine Foods is at the forefront of capsule innovation, continuously exploring new frontiers to develop versatile and effective formulations. Its comprehensive research and development overcomes limits related to traditional capsule formulations, combining different technological solutions to provide innovative and original ideas, catering to a wide range of consumer needs and preferences.


Bridging the oil-powder gap

The first innovative area involves using microcapsules that combine oils with powders or pellets, opening new possibilities for formulation development. Products containing carminative essential oils and botanicals, which improve bloating and digestive discomfort, rely on the synergistic effects of natural ingredients to support optimal gastrointestinal function.

A product combining lavender oil with an adaptogen helps the body quickly respond when facing acute stress, supports physical and mental wellbeing and improves sleep for insomnia sufferers. Combining microencapsulated oils with other active ingredients avoids physical and chemical interactions or incompatibilities and provides consumers with ‘all-in one’ solutions.

Targeting clean-label formulations

Another area of focus involves reducing or removing excipients and additives, focusing mainly on crystalline or granular active ingredients and allowing clean-label formulations which support specific health goals. This includes, for example, a product containing 100% Nutrient Reference Value magnesium, for combating tiredness and boosting energy metabolism, or a fibre like glucomannan to support weight loss.

Unlocking the potential of new forms

Developing products containing saccharomyces boulardii (S. Boulardii), a beneficial yeast known for its ability to support gastrointestinal health and enhance immune function, is limited because of its rod-shaped form, which could lead to demixing from other ingredients. Innovative capsule technology combines rod-shaped yeasts with other active components which results in original formulations targeting gut health and immune function.

Bespoke wellness solutions

Bespoke wellness solutions can be developed by combining fast and slow-release active ingredients in the same capsule. Excessive fatigue and stress caused by a frenetic lifestyle can cause imbalance in the production of melatonin, a hormone secreted by the pineal gland, leading to an alteration in the sleep-wake cycle and difficulty falling asleep.

Dietary supplements containing melatonin promote a more restful sleep. A synergistic combination of slow-release melatonin with other fast acting botanicals, like valerian or passionflower, reduces the time needed to fall asleep, promoting relaxation and a restful night.

Capsule technology progress is a considerable leap ahead for the nutraceutical sector, paving the way for further product innovation and consumer satisfaction. Fine Foods' commitment to excellence and innovation emphasises its position as a frontrunner in contract development and manufacturing. Fine Foods is leading the way towards positive change and shaping the future of health and wellness by pushing the limits of capsule technology and embracing innovation.


1. ​Mintel. Data bought by Fine Foods.