Lonza Capsules & Health Ingredients

Naturally Unique Plantcaps® Capsules:

a Next Generation Capsule Essential

Making Cleaner, More Sustainable Choices


Stephane Vouche, Marketing Manager, Lonza Capsules & Health Ingredients

When consumers today choose what they put into their bodies, and as they fill their carts in-store and online, they are making decisions with great care and with concern about their impact on the planet. Wherever they are in the world, these choices are increasingly influenced by the personal values, preferences and belief systems of individuals.

Sustainable consumption is, as such, no longer a niche way of life: as many as 50% of shoppers now report trusting products featuring “sustainably produced” claims[1]. 54% of buyers also feel they can make a real difference with their purchasing decisions[2], which means we are at a moment when a brand’s take on sustainability makes all the difference in how consumers perceive it. Indeed, research has also shown that 70% of consumers expect brands to invest in sustainability[3]. Here, it is important for brands to go back to basics: the source of ingredients in a product matters just as much as the health benefits it claims, and close attention must be paid to quality and provenance at every stage of a well-managed supply chain.

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


Dosage Forms Designed For Consumers

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 20194 and 1 in 5 consumers have turned their focus to botanical and herbal solutions5. 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.

For these responsible consumers, it is also important that choosing sustainable, clean products does not mean they have to compromise on the product experience. They know that more “natural” or “herbal” should not have to mean more pungent, less convenient, or less enjoyable. (Figure 1)

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. Recent Lonza research in Germany also shows that consumers are looking for dosage forms that are attractive and easy to swallow – 63% think taste and smell is important when making supplement purchasing decisions, while 72% prioritize a format that is easy to take6. Of course, regular, routine supplement consumption also 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 it is creation, promotion and application. To achieve this, it is essential to balance elegant supplement product design with demonstrated health benefits. With research showing that capsules remain the preferred format for supplement users7, it is here that Lonza can help – thanks to our Capsugel® capsule design and manufacturing expertise, combined with 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.

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


Premium Pullulan For Performance

That is where Lonza’s naturally unique

Plantcaps® capsules come in, forming part of a new generation of plant-based capsule essentials that are responsibly made to resonate with today’s informed consumers. These uniquely made, naturally vegan capsules are made of the water-soluble polysaccharide pullulan, a tasteless, odorless, biodegradable polymer obtained from tapioca that has been 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. Composed of substances with a long precedence of safe use, Plantcaps® capsules are suitable for use in a broad range of countries.

The pullulan used in Plantcaps® capsules is carefully selected and is uniquely produced using a sustainably cultivated source of manioc (cassava) that undergoes a process of microbial fermentation, without employing genetically-modified organisms and without the use of organic solvents. The manioc itself thrives in poor soil, which leaves nutrient-rich land available for the crops that need it most. When a Plantcaps® capsule is produced, potassium chloride and carrageenan sourced from natural marine algae to are added to the pullulan, allowing the polymer to gellify 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.

Engineered For Excellence

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 that ensure every capsule contains, protects and delivers as required. Essential to this is Lonza’s high performance, 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 properties of pullulan, ensures that Plantcaps® capsules are stable, non-reactive and non-brittle to offer peak performance during the manufacturing process, running smoothly on automatic filling machines. What is more, as an inert polymer, pullulan offers an excellent oxygen barrier that helps to create a taste- and odor-neutral 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 – while also meeting dietary needs and religious lifestyle requirements. What sets them apart even further, however, is their fast, gelatin-like dissolution once swallowed, ideal for immediate release applications. (Figure 2)

Plantcaps® Capsules: Part Of Your Capsule Essentials

When a product delivers on every level, it demonstrates to the consumer just how effortless the supplement experience can be. By making it easier for individuals to integrate healthy choices into their daily routines, Plantcaps® capsules demonstrate their essential place in any plant-based supplement portfolio that seeks to lead the market. To brand owners and consumers alike, Plantcaps® capsules offer the benefits of performance, stability and clean-label credentials alongside quick, convenient and effective delivery. It is an elegant solution that does indeed seem effortless, but Plantcaps® capsules would not be possible without advanced, proprietary polymer science from Lonza.

Discover how your plant-based portfolio can thrive with next generation Plantcaps® pullulan capsules at  www.capsugel.com



1 Euromonitor Sustainability Report 2019.

2 Ibid.

3 Innova Trends Survey 2020. Average of UK, US and China.

4 Innova Database, Nutrition Focus: plant-based supplements, 2020.

5 Ibid.

6 NMI SORD Germany 2019.

7 Ibid.