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Veggie Vs. Gelatin Capsules - Choose the Right Supplement

Last updated: May-2,2023

Veggie vs. Gelatin - Choose the Right Supplement

Thinking of choosing a capsule as the delivery method for your next nutritional supplement product? Depending on the type of supplement you're looking to manufacture and who you're looking to sell it to – deciding to use a veggie capsule or a gelatin capsule can make all the difference!

Along with tablets and powders, capsules are some of the most popular delivery methods for dietary and nutritional supplements. Let's take a closer look at two of the capsule world's top contenders!

Gelatin Capsules vs. Veggie Capsules: The Key Differences

Here are the must-know details from expert capsule manufacturers for anyone looking to find the best capsule option for their dietary supplement product and their customers.

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What are Gelatin capsules and what are they made of?

The pharmaceutical quality gelatin used in two-piece hard-shell gelatin capsules is obtained through the processing of collagen found in the connective tissues and bones of most animals, including humans. The collagen is composed of eighteen different amino acids found in the connective tissues and bones of most animals.

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Gelatin is the original and most-common material used to produce capsules.

What Gelatin is used in capsules?

The commercial sources are typically from a combination of beef (bovine) and pork (porcine) gelatins.

Advantages of Gelatin Capsules

Consumers generally prefer capsules over tablets. Capsules tend to be easier to swallow. Furthermore, if a clear capsule (as opposed to a colored capsule) literally provides transparency for its ingredients, which consumers often perceive as evidence of being natural. 

Additionally, gelatin capsules work well for most powdered formulations.

Lastly, gelatin capsules are cost-effective and are available in many options, such as various colors, as well as sizes to suit your needs.

Disadvantages of Gelatin Capsules

Gelatin capsules are available in a limited number of fixed sizes, whereas tablets are available in an extensive number of shapes and sizes. Consequently, there may be times where a single serving of a given product might fit in one tablet, but require two capsules to provide the same ingredients.

Are Gelatin Capsules Bad for You?

Absolutely not. Gelatin capsules are made of a protein that we commonly consume in our diet - assuming we are not vegetarians. Gelatin capsules are safe for regular consumption.

What are Veggie Capsules and What are They Made of?

Vegetable capsules (or “Veggie caps”) are made up of cellulose, an important structural component in plants. To be more specific, the main ingredient of vegetarian capsule is hydroxypropyl methyl cellulose (HPMC).

Veggie Capsules

  • Veggie capsules are made using cellulose, a fibrous plant by-product.
  • Typically, veggie capsules are easily absorbed and digested by the body.
  • Works well for most powdered or gel formulations.

Advantages of Veggie Capsules

The most obvious advantage of veggie capsules is that they are acceptable to vegetarians —a viable alternative to gelatin capsules that are animal sourced. Otherwise, they have the same advantages as gelatin capsules.

Disadvantages of Veggie Capsules

Veggie capsules have the same disadvantages as gelatin capsules. In addition, gelatin capsules are more broadly used than vegetarian capsules because their cost of production is lower.

Similarities Between Veggie and Gelatin Capsules

For all intents and purposes gelatin and veggie capsules serve the same purpose and can be used interchangeably for any formula. The only differentiating factor is whether or not there is a desire to make the finished product acceptable to vegetarians.

Refer to our blog “What's the Process for Manufacturing Capsule Supplements?” for more information on capsule supplement formulation.

Choosing the Right Supplement Capsule for Your Product

Typically, when it comes to choosing the right capsule type for your dietary supplement product there are a number of different factors worth considering. That being said, for most supplements there are two factors that rank above the rest...


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Your Customers-Who you're looking to market and sell your product should be one of the top factors when it comes to making the decision between veggie and gelatin capsules. In today's increasingly pro-veggie world, a growing number of consumers are looking for vegetarian and vegan foods and nutritional supplements.

That being acknowledged, not every consumer out there is actively seeking vegetarian or vegan products. At the end of the day, it comes down to knowing who your customers are and knowing what they want.


Your Formula - While both capsules have their advantages, each type does come with its own set of limitations. While both capsule types tend to work well with powdered formulations – neither variety is particularly well suited for liquid formulations (although, some veggie capsules can handle certain semi-solid and gel formulations).

So far as formula-based limitations are concerned, your contract manufacturer or production specialist should have no problem guiding you to the best capsule type for your formulation.

The Takeaway

Capsules, whether gelatin or veggie-based, are well-received by consumers and represent a viable option as a dosage form for dietary supplements. Certainly, it is important to consider if your formulation is a good candidate for capsules, and if your customer is likely to prefer a specific capsule type. NutraScience Labs can help provide you with some guidance in this regard. 

For more information about our capsule manufacturing services, give us a call at 855-492-7388 or send us your request to receive a free price quote.

July 13th, 2016

About the Author:

Gene Bruno

Gene Bruno, MS, MHS, RH(AHG) - Mr. Bruno possesses over 43 years of dietary supplement industry experience. With a Master's degree in nutrition and a second Master's degree in herbal medicine, he has a proven track record of formulating innovative, evidence-based dietary supplements. Mr. Bruno currently serves as both the Senior Director of Product Innovation at Twinlab Corporation and Professor of Nutraceutical Science at Huntington University of Health Sciences.