Lonza expands clean label capsule portfolio as storytelling comes to the fore
30 Apr 2020 --- Lonza continues to expand its food colored capsules range as clean label demand continues to boom across sectors. NutritionInsight speaks with Stephane Vouche, Marketing Manager of Lonza Consumer Health & Nutrition, to hear how the vegetarian Vcaps Plus food colored capsules can create differentiation and tap into the major trend for storytelling. He also predicts that the health and sustainability trends will become more interconnected than ever before.
“Historically, it has always been considered an industry-wide challenge to derive vibrant color tints from a completely clean label source. Our coloring food sources are extracted using a very gentle, non-selective water-based method – which means that the color is derived entirely from the food source, whether it be carrot, radish, turmeric or spirulina. This also preserves the same nutritive and aromatic profile,” explains Vouche.
He continues that even with this gentle processing method, the food sources provide a strong color that is attractive. “They enable the creation of high-performance products that add value to the consumer experience, as well as being suitable for both small and large manufacturing setups,” he adds.
The result of this technology is Lonza’s Vcaps Plus food colored capsules, touted as offering the same high-quality, machinability and performance as the existing Capsugel portfolio. Vcaps Plus Red Radish and Vcaps Plus Spicy Yellow capsules are now available in the US, following their European introduction in mid-2019.
The food colored capsules range first entered the market in spring 2018, following the launch of the Vcaps Plus Blue Spirulina capsule in Europe. The Vcaps Plus Purple Carrot capsule came shortly afterward, launching in November 2018 as the first product in the range to be available globally. Last November, Vcaps Plus White Opal, its first commercially-available titanium dioxide-free semi-opaque capsule for food supplements, were launched at CPhI Worldwide 2019.
With the exception of Vcaps Plus Blue Spirulina, which is currently not commercially available in the US, all versions of the capsules are now available in Europe and the US.
He explains that each country or region has its own set of regulations, in terms of which raw materials or processing methods may or may not be compliant. “Additionally, while we see that clean label products are popular on a global level, but we know that certain sub-trends are more prominent in some markets than in others.”
“We look forward to continuing to help brands craft on-trend supplement products that leverage the meaning and significance of color to tell stories regarding function and health benefits. Take our Vcaps Plus Spicy Yellow capsules as an example, which can be used to enhance the visual appeal of a curcumin-based solution, which is already known for its vivid yellow color.”
Meanwhile, Vcaps Plus Purple Carrot capsules can be paired with a lavender-based ingredient fill for a healthy sleep formulation.
Tapping into storytelling
According to Vouche, the capsules provide all-important brand differentiation and a built-in clean label and plant-based product story. This latter point ties in with Innova Market Insights’ number one 2020 trend of “Storytelling: Winning with Words,” which underscores a spike in consumer interest in discovering the origin stories behind food and beverage products.
According to research by Innova Market Insights, 56 percent of global consumers say that stories around a brand influence their purchase decision. In a survey seeking to better understand what appeals to consumers about brand storytelling, the most popular response was “to learn where the ingredients come from.”
“Around the globe, supplement consumers have become increasingly responsible buyers and are willing to do more research to find the products that combine performance, safety and sustainability. They’re looking for high-quality, safe solutions that stand out from the crowd with a science-backed approach and a transparently end-to-end clean label positioning. Consumers care about the sustainability of sourcing all the way along the supply chain,” explains Vouche.
He continues that for responsible consumers, clean label isn’t just a label: it’s a promise and brands must deliver on every level – from the ingredient, right through to the delivery system. Indeed, the dosage form plays an essential role in ensuring the consumer does not need to compromise on the end-to-end clean label experience they desire.
In February, the company revealed that over half of US supplement users now seek products with sustainable origins.
Vouche notes that there is no reason why capsules should not have the same colorful experience as other products, which often have a playful relationship with Pantone’s Color of the Year and other color trends. “Before Vcaps Plus food colored capsules, the trend for color hadn’t been leveraged to the best possible extent in vegetarian and plant-based capsule technologies, because the quality of innovation wasn’t there to offer the clean label credentials that matter to consumers,” he states.
Looking ahead, he expects that more brands and manufacturers will begin to adopt a consumer-driven design approach and listen more closely to the needs of consumers as they go about developing products.
“Indeed, with the health and sustainability trends more interconnected than ever before, we anticipate that we will begin to see a lot more attention being paid to sustainable sourcing and transparency across the supply chain. We also expect to see an expanding variety of plant-based, responsibly made formulations that support a range of emerging health areas, such as cognitive function, beauty-from-within and better sleep, to name just a few,” he continues.
He concludes that every future supplement solution that truly succeeds will do so on the basis of its ability to balance consumer trends and demands with consistently high quality, and to perform in each respect.
Earlier this month, Lonza Group reported Q1 net sales of CHF1.6 billion (US$1.65 billion), which represents an increase of 7.4 percent compared to the previous year at a constant exchange rate (CER). The company also stated that its facilities continue to “largely remain operational” in light of the COVID-19 outbreak, and its business will continue “as planned” with key strategic growth projects.
By Katherine Durrell
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