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Naturally unique Plantcaps capsules take supplements to the next level

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Naturally unique Plantcaps capsules take supplements to the next level

Growing clean-label potential

Now is a time when few of us are content to simply consume. People around the globe are more values-driven, and care more than ever about what they put into their bodies as well as the impact their shopping has on the planet. As consumers make more considered purchasing decisions, these values are top-of-mind: as many as 1 in 2 shoppers trust products which feature “sustainably produced” claims1​.

Such values increasingly influence a consumer’s choice of brand from the very beginning: a brand’s sustainability positioning, for instance, now has the power to make or break the consumer’s perception of its value. Getting it right from the ground-up matters: for many of today’s consumers, the source of ingredients in a product is just as important as its claims of effectiveness. Buyers want to consume responsibly by choosing products that are healthier and more planet-friendly – 54% feel they can make a real difference with their purchasing decisions2​.

Consumer-friendly dosage forms

These preferences and purchasing habits also extend to the food supplement market, which is becoming an increasingly dynamic environment as consumer expectations evolve; the market has, for instance, seen a 34% growth in products making “plant-based” claims from 2015 to 20193​. In the wake of a turbulent 2020, consumers are more focused on taking care of their health and are looking for safe, transparent, quality solutions, so that they know what they are putting in their bodies. Specifically, 1 in 5 consumers have turned their focus to botanical and herbal solutions4​.

For these responsible consumers, it’s also important that choosing sustainable, clean products doesn’t mean they have to compromise on the product experience. They know that more “natural” or “herbal” shouldn’t have to mean more pungent, less convenient, or less enjoyable.


Figure 1: consumer preferences for dosage forms
Source: NMI Consumer Study SORD 2019

When it comes to food supplements though, these attributes are not just important with regards to the ingredient. The choice of dosage form must also be considered from the very start of the new product development process to ensure the final product can deliver on consumers’ responsible expectations. Lonza’s research also shows that consumers are looking for dosage forms that are attractive and easy to swallow – 63% prefer a neutral taste and smell, while 72% prioritize a format that’s easy to take5​. And of course, regular, routine supplement consumption plays a significant role in achieving the measurable health benefits consumers want.

If that routine is to become effortless for consumers, it should be effortless for manufacturers, too: an ideal product should perform with ease at every stage of its creation, promotion and application. To achieve this, it’s essential to balance elegant supplement product design with demonstrated health benefits. It’s here that Lonza can help, thanks to our expertise in dosage form design and our rich Capsugel heritage in crafting capsule polymers, built on a deep understanding of consumer needs and preferences. We know that a clean-label capsule is more than a container: the right polymer choice can enable and empower the healthier lifestyle choices consumers aspire to make.

Premium origin pullulan

That’s where Lonza’s Plantcaps capsules come in. These naturally unique, vegetarian capsules are clean-label by design, made of the water-soluble polysaccharide pullulan, a tasteless, odorless, biodegradable form of tapioca starch that has been bio-fermented with black yeast Aureobasidium pullulans. Part of Lonza’s portfolio of Responsibly Made Products, these capsules have the demonstrated credentials in performance, convenience, and sustainable sourcing that are a hallmark of our flagship plant-based range. Containing pullulan with authorized food additive status in the EU and GRAS status in the US, Plantcaps capsules are approved and available for use in every country.


Plantcaps capsules

The pullulan used in Plantcaps capsules is a special, carefully selected strain that is uniquely produced using a sustainably cultivated source of manioc (cassava) which undergoes a process of natural microbial fermentation, employing no genetically-modified processing aids and without the use of solvents. The manioc itself thrives in poor soil, which leaves nutrient-rich land available for the crops that need it most. Then when a Plantcaps capsule is produced, the only addition is a gelling agent, carrageenan, sourced from natural marine algae to gellify the polymer into its capsule form. Every step of the capsule creation process, from sustainable sourcing of raw materials to standards for purity and performance, is stringently monitored by Lonza experts. As such, Plantcaps capsules lead the industry in meeting regulatory requirements and offering a safe, clean-label experience with authorized, trustworthy components.

Performance-driven design

Unparalleled standards in sustainability are coupled with an innovative approach to capsule design. Each element of the Plantcaps capsule is carefully considered to meet Lonza’s industry leading quality standards, which ensure every capsule contains, protects and delivers as required. Essential to this is Lonza’s proprietary Coni-Snap capsule closure mechanism, which features a capsule body with a tapered rim that easily engages with the cap for easy closure. Other benefits include a dual snap-ring locking system that prevents leaks of powder fills, as well as air vents that allow air to escape for easier filling on high-speed machinery.

This proprietary design, combined with the unique, carefully selected strain of pullulan, ensures that Plantcaps capsules are stable and non-brittle to offer peak performance during the manufacturing process, running smoothly on automatic filling machines. What’s more, as an inert polymer, pullulan offers an excellent oxygen barrier and can help to prevent odors – for example, of botanical ingredients – escaping from the capsule, while also ensuring it has a neutral taste experience. Adding another distinctive element to the consumer experience, Plantcaps capsules are transparent – offering a glossy, attractive visual without compromising on the careful protection that ingredient fills require.

Plantcaps capsules: Winning on experience

Ultimately, every sensory element is equally important in the ideal food supplement experience, from look and taste to mouthfeel. That’s why we put Plantcaps capsules to the test when it comes to ease of swallowing. And once swallowed, gelatin-like fast dissolution sets Plantcaps capsules apart, ensuring immediate release of the ingredients.


Figure 2: Disintegration of gelatin capsules and Plantcaps capsules in water, 37°C, according to Japanese Pharmacopeia

The more effortless the experience, the more likely it becomes part of a daily routine for any consumer. That’s what makes Plantcaps capsules essential to a market-leading plant-based supplement portfolio. Manufacturers need a stable, high-performing vegetarian dosage form that’s specifically designed to support the delivery of trending ingredient fills – safe, quick and effective delivery that meets the needs of brands and consumers alike, with ease and elegance. Thanks to proprietary polymer science, that’s exactly what Plantcaps capsules are designed to provide.

Want to meet consumer needs on an even closer level? Get in touch with Lonza’s experts to discuss how our next generation Plantcaps pullulan capsules can elevate your plant-based portfolio, for both liquid and powder fills. To request a sample, visit:

[1] Euromonitor Sustainability Report 2019

[2] Ibid.

[3] Innova Database 2020

[4] Ibid.

[5] NMI SORD Germany 2019

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