Capsule Supplements - Industry Trends and Market Opportunities
According to a Grand View Research report, the global nutritional supplements market is expected to reach $230.73 billion by 2027 at a healthy compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8.2%.[i]
Most supplement brands today offer a wide range of nutraceutical products in the form of tablets, soft gelatin capsules, hard capsules, seamless capsules, gels, bars, liquids, powders, and granules. Of these subsets, the soft gels and capsules segment contributed over 34.8% to the total market in 2019.
Two-piece, hard-shelled capsules have become a popular delivery method for dietary supplement brands. Capsules are generally filled with formulations in the form of dry ingredients in their powdered form or miniature pellets.
The two most preferred types of capsules among consumers and brand owners are:
- Gelatin capsules
- Veggie (vegetarian) capsules
Why Do Brand Owners Choose Capsules as Their Preferred Delivery Method?
Capsules are generally preferred by supplement brands over tablets because consumers find them to be easier to swallow and dissolve faster than tablets when ingested. In the case of smaller formulations, capsules seem to be more practical options. In addition to this, they require fewer excipients (such as binders), making it more appealing for the end consumer.
In fact, the results of a consumer research report showed that:
- 74% of herbal users prefer two-piece capsules.
- Vitamin users prefer two-piece capsules over tablets (by a 2-to-1 margin).
- Ease-of-swallowing is the chief reason (66%) for preferring capsules over tablets.
- Speed of action and gentleness on the stomach, or digestion and absorption, are some other reasons why capsules are so popular.
Capsule Formulation Trends
According to a Nutritional Outlook article written by Melissa Kvidahl, consumers may also prefer capsules over other delivery formats because they can be formulated without additives, allergens, preservatives, starch, and gluten. Capsules do not contain non-nutritive fillers, binders, or disintegrants that might be found in other delivery forms.
NutraScience Labs' Vice President of Contract Manufacturing, Vincent Tricarico, also weighed in on the topic, saying that the increase in the demand for capsules can also be attributed to the availability of vegetarian formats. Tricarico also noted that enhanced bio-availability is another significant advantage, since hard gelatin caps also serve as good oxygen barriers.
Industry Trends in Capsule Branding
The advancements in manufacturing have given capsule manufacturers many options to offer brand owners, including different shell colors, shapes, design, and imprinting options. Maintaining crystal-clear transparency and a high degree of luster is easily possible today, thus offering greater visual appeal for the product. In terms of branding, this helps nutraceutical companies show their consumers the “natural” aspect of the supplements or innovate with the “look” of the capsules.[ii], [iii]
What Does the Future Hold for Capsule Supplements?
It is an exciting time for dietary supplement brands since innovations in the manufacturing process and technology enables them to find newer ways to produce high-quality capsules. Not only will the future see brands delivering more potent formulations, but also catering to the consumer’s demand for:
- GMO-free capsules
- Allergen-free capsules
- Gluten-free formulations
- Preservative-free capsules
- Vegetarian or non-animal options
- Smaller and easy-to-swallow capsules
- Capsules that effectively mask organic ingredient odors
- Formulations that help mask naturally unpleasant flavors
A Capsule Within a Capsule?
The manufacturing of capsules that combine ingredients such as prebiotics and probiotics into one single dosage form is also possible today. Bi-layer capsule supplements can be delivered in the form of a mini-capsule planted inside a bigger, liquid-filled capsule. The difference in the thickness of the beads’ coating will provide for a controlled (or delayed) rupturing and release. These are referred to as “time-release” capsules and offer supplement companies with the option to provide a product that delivers a combination of an immediate-release outer layer and extended-release layer on the inside.
Looking for a Capsule Manufacturer?
New entrepreneurs who want to start their own capsule supplement company or existing brand owners who wish to reinvent their capsule supplement line should consider all the aforementioned trends.
The capsule market is ripe with opportunities for supplement companies, and it is imperative that they leverage these trends to deliver capsules that make use of the latest ingredients and formulations!
NutraScience Labs is the company that brand owners turn to for high-quality, customized capsule manufacturing and filling solutions. With over 50 years of nutraceutical industry experience and an efficient capsule production process, we offer a wide range of services, including custom size, material, appearance, imprinting, and packaging options.
|Size Options||1, 0, 00, 00E, 000|
|Material Options||Bovine-Gelatin, Bovine/Porcine Gelatin, Vegetable Cellulose|
|Appearance Options||Clear, Natural Colors, Custom/Limited Colors|
|Imprinting Options||Custom Image/Logo, Colored Text|
|Packaging Options||Blister Packaging, Bottles, Custom Packaging Options|