Choosing the Best Empty Vegetarian Capsules for your Nutraceutical Products: A Simple Guide

Choosing the Best Empty Vegetarian Capsules for your Nutraceutical Products: A Simple Guide


The nutraceutical market is booming! More than 60% of vegans and non-vegans in the U.S. reported taking at least a dietary supplement daily.¹ 

Today's supplement consumers are well-informed, diverse, and super-conscious about the choice of products concerning their health. Many of them are also vegetarian-aware. They generally deem plant-based products more acceptable, healthier, and safer. 

Vegetarian-aware consumers are very influential in the nutraceutical market. Reports show that they take more supplements daily, on average, than the general population (3.1 vs. 2.4). According to a study among 6,000 UK citizens, vegans and vegetarians are 27% more likely to buy multivitamin and mineral supplements than non-vegetarians.² More so, over 50% of them are brand loyal and consistently buy from specific brands that meet their needs. 

Meeting the formulation needs of this vibrant market by manufacturers has led to an uptick in demand for vegetarian empty capsules. In addition, there is an increase in the varieties of veggie caps to satisfy different sub-populations within the larger vegetarian community. Without adequate information, nutraceutical manufacturers may get overwhelmed with this choice expansion.  

In this article, we present a simple guide on how you, as a nutraceutical manufacturer or enthusiast, can aptly choose the best vegetarian capsule for your commercial product or personal supplements. We also summarize the features of different vegetarian empty capsule varieties on the market for quicker and easier decisions.

Why choose vegetarian capsules for your nutraceuticals? 

Best Empty Vegetarian Capsules for your Nutraceutical Products

Vegetarian capsules are made with plant-sourced materials and do not contain any animal by-products. The most popular veggie capsule, HPMC capsules, is made from hypromellose, which is derived from wood cellulose. Pullulan capsules, another well-used alternative, are made from pullulan – a soluble polymer obtained via the fermentation of corn starch. HPMC capsules are a manufacturer's top choice because of their versatility with both solid and liquid fills and easy Non-GMO certification which is not readily so with Pullulan capsules. Derivatives of these vegetarian capsules have been made to serve specialized functions. 

In the present era, choosing a vegetarian capsule to market your nutraceutical products stands to be a profitable decision for your business. This is because these capsules made from plant-sourced materials adequately match contemporary demands in the industry. Consumers increasingly look out for a 'clean label' in nutraceuticals i.e. the product should have all-natural components. 

Thus, the potential ways veggie caps may benefit your merchandise include: 

  • Offer excellent fundamental formulation delivery functions as hard gelatin capsules. 
  • Serve advanced pharmaceutical functions, as in modified-release forms and acid-resistant capsules. 
  • Amenable to meeting vast consumer preferences and regulatory certifications, including being free of GMO products, preservatives, titanium oxide, gluten, and sugar.    
  • Support your product's 'clean label' claim, and boost its overall acceptability, sales, and profit. 

How to pick the right vegetarian capsules

How to pick the right vegetarian capsules

There are two considerations to explore:

1. Technical Fit for the Products  

The first step is to consider the technical details of your product. The best capsule for your product will address and match the technical properties of the product ingredient and the desired delivery pattern. For example, some of the questions to ask include:  

  • Is the supplement ingredient sensitive to moisture, heat, acid, or air?  
  • Does the ingredient have a strong smell or unattractive color that needs to be masked?  
  • Is it desired for the supplement to be released immediately in the stomach or later in the intestines?  

The answers will point to the capsule with features that offer the needed technical coverage for your product. You may find the following summary table of the features of different vegetarian capsules helpful in matching your answer to a capsule. More than or two varieties of capsules may match your product details.







High-performance veggie cap for most vegetarians, with overall superiority to hard gelatin caps; clear or colored, or flavored 

A good option vegetarian capsule for powder fills, absolutely impervious to air; clear or white. 

Standard HPMC capsules with natural colorants derived from flowers and minerals, and all-natural ingredients; highly aesthetic, and nutritive 

Specialized veggie capsules designed to specifically release its fill only in the intestines; clear 


Hydroxypropylmethyl Cellulose (HPMC); may or may not contain opacifiers. e.g. TiO2 free K-caps.  

Pullulan (from liquid starch); 

high moisture content  

HPMC; natural colorants like chlorophyll, carmine, spirulina, etc. 

HPMC Phthalate 


Suitable for all fill types: 

Solids (powders or granules), semisolids, liquids, oils, non-aqueous liquids; hygroscopic or moisture-sensitive products 

Suitable for dry powders; oxygen-sensitive materials; ingredients with strong smell 

Suitable for all types of fill materials: 

Solids (powders or granules), semisolids, liquids, oils, non-aqueous liquids;  


Suitable for acid-sensitive products e.g. probiotics, enzymes & transplants; smelly ingredients; delayed-release; targeted delivery 

Product examples 

All nutraceuticals. OTC, Sports and Energy products, oils and liquids. 

Vitamin C (air-sensitive); herbs and dry botanicals 

All nutraceuticals. Herbs & botanicals, including oils, liquids.  

Enzymes, probiotics, garlic (strong smell) 


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2. Marketing requirements of your product  

After matching the technical details of your product to a capsule, consider your marketing objectives and needs within your niche before finalizing your capsule choice.   

In other words, you should factor in the tastes or preferences among your target consumers that can enhance a product's performance. Observe the longstanding trend among your potential buyers for some of this information. Some other questions that you may ask to assess consumer preferences include: 

  • What certifications e.g. Vegan Verified or Non-GMO Project verifications etc., should the capsule possess to enhance its market impressions? 
  • Are there flaws in the competitor products that can be explored advantageously through a capsule change e.g. color, reflux problems, poor taste, clean label? 
  • What are the religious or ethical inclinations of our target market? 
  • Are there regional differences in the regulations about allowed materials or ingredients? 

Taking all relevant information together, you will be able to confidently choose the veggie cap that gives your nutraceutical products the best outing, short-term and long-term.  

What is more, getting your empty vegetarian capsules from a reputable producer will ensure your capsule delivers at best performance.  

At Capsuline, our diverse ranges of vegetarian capsules are produced with high-quality materials and procedures to meet and exceed global standards. Our capsules have been certified by numerous regulatory bodies including The Non-GMO Project, Vegan Society, Halal, and Kosher. Capsuline HPMC veggie caps are free of BSE contaminants, chemical preservatives, and the most common food allergens and are NonGMO certified. 

If you want any of the types of vegetarian capsules described above, visit our website today to buy or request a quote



  1. Wirnitzer K, Motevalli M, Tanous DR, et al. Supplement Intake in Recreational Vegan, Vegetarian, and Omnivorous Endurance Runners-Results from the NURMI Study (Step 2). Nutrients. 2021;13(8):2741. 
  2. Neufingerl N, Eilander A. Nutrient Intake and Status in Adults Consuming Plant-Based Diets Compared to Meat-Eaters: A Systematic Review. Nutrients. 2021;14(1):29.