Empty Capsules Market

2020 Analysis and Review of Empty Capsules Market by Product Type - Gelatin (Hard)-based Capsules and Vegetarian-based Capsules for 2020-2030

Empty Capsules Market: Key Insights

  • The global empty capsules market will cross US$ 2 Bn in 2022.
  • Growth engine is primarily driven by rise in the cases of chronic disorders and increasing spending on advanced healthcare infrastructure.
  • Empty hard gelatine capsules market to soar; vegetarian-based capsules to witness rapid demand growth.
  • Empty capsule manufacturers continue using type-B gelatin (animal bones & calf skin) as a raw material for developing empty capsules.
  • Pharmaceutical companies would be primary consumers of empty capsules; cosmetic & nutraceutical companies to offer investment opportunities.
  • North America continues to define stakeholders’ bottom lines; Asia Pacific excluding Japan (APEJ) to reflect lucrative prospects.


Rising Approval Rates for Personalized Medicine and Nutrition

Upsurge in FDA approvals for personalized medicines and nutrition for the treatment of rare and chronic diseases is promoting the production expansion of empty capsules. Personalized medicines help in the treatment of patients by facilitating the right drug with the right dosage.

These medicines have recently been gaining more traction in the market, owing to their suitability in patients across all stages of care, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention. This is expected to create fertile ground for companies, thus leading to expansion in the production capacities of players in the empty capsules market over the forecast period. 

Increasing Demand for Gelatin Alternative Capsules

Gelatin capsules (made of skin and bones of bovine, porcine, and fish) continue to be the primary products used by pharmaceutical and nutraceutical industries, while emerging alternatives to gelatin capsules are gaining traction. In addition, rising complications and drug interactions associated with gelatin capsules are key factors paving the way for gelatin alternatives in pharmaceutical and nutraceutical industries.

For example: hydroxypropyl methylcellulose (HPMC) capsules are established alternatives to gelatin capsules, and are gaining popularity in pharmaceutical and nutraceutical industries, as they eliminate the issue of cross-linking. Other vegetarian capsules such as pullalan capsules are also gaining prominence, given certain properties such as smooth nature and easy acceptance by consumers.

End users are still looking for a variety in vegetarian capsules to attract customers, especially vegetarians. 

Impact of COVID 19 Pandemic on Empty Capsules Market

The world is fighting a health as well as economic downturn, as the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic casts its long shadow over the global economy. Complete lockdowns in several countries have - directly or indirectly – put a strain on myriads of industries, triggering a shift in activities such as vendor operations, supply chain management, and product commercialization. As the number of confirmed cases of COVIED-19 continues to rise exponentially, the pandemic is likely to hit the profit margins of empty capsule manufacturers.

Empty Capsules Market: Structure Analysis

  • The global empty capsules market is consolidated, with leading players accounting for around 70% market share.
  • Leading manufacturers are focusing on business expansions through mergers, joint ventures, distribution agreements, and capturing the untapped potential of the market.
  • Players are increasing the production of non-animal or vegetarian empty capsules to keep pace with changing consumer behavior.

Report Metrics & Details

  • Base Year - 2019
  • Historical Period - 2015-2019
  • Forecast Period - 2020-2030
  • Market Value in 2019 - US$ 1.7 Bn
  • Segments Covered - Product Type, Raw Material, Capsule Size, Route of Administration, End User, and Region
  • Regions Covered - North America, Latin America, Western Europe, Eastern Europe, Japan, Asia Pacific excluding Japan, and the Middle East & Africa
  • Key Companies - Sunil Healthcare Ltd., Capsugel, Qualicaps Inc., Medi-Caps Ltd., ACG Worldwide, Roxlor LLC, Snail Pharma Industry Co. Ltd., CapsCanada Corporation, Suheung Co., Ltd., and Bright Pharma Caps Inc..
  • Growth Drivers - 
    • Surging demand from nutraceutical industry
    • High adoption in pulmonary diseases treatment
    • Increasing preference for gelatin for non-gelatin capsules

Empty Capsules Market to Hit Nearly US$ 4 Bn in 2030

Capsules are among the most prevalent medium of dosage for oral administration of drugs. Drug delivery via capsules, over the past few years, has undergone step-change improvements, considering product innovation, to ensure high-quality prognosis and patient convenience.

Novel capsule sealing approaches, advancements in capsule shells, and innovations in fill material are creating a conducive ground for manufacturers in the empty capsules market space. As per FMI, global consumption of empty capsules will reach a valuation of around US$ 4 Bn in by 2030.

Gelatin (Hard)-based Capsules to Lead Despite Emergence of Vegetarian Variants

Gelatin has been the material of choice for developing hard shell capsules that efficiently hold specialty active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs). However, gelatin (hard)-based empty capsules are associated with side effects such as allergies, difficulty in ingestion (for kidney patients), and drug compatibility issues. As gelatin is derived from the collagen of animals, these empty capsules are receiving backlash from animal activists.

As such, empty capsule manufacturers are driving their attention towards producing vegetarian-based capsules, which offer benefits such as low moisture content, excellent stability, and low hygroscopicity, over gelatin-based variants. Despite vegetarian-based empty capsules rapidly gaining momentum, market players continue to reap greater returns from the sales of gelatin (hard)-based empty capsules. 

Empty Capsules Market Regional Analysis

The North America empty capsules market is primarily fueled by a strong foothold of leading capsule manufacturers, coupled with well-established pharmaceutical giants with large-scale production capabilities. Further, these industry incumbents are laying greater emphasis on superior pharmaceutical drugs and generics. Consumers in Asia Pacific (APAC) are accenting for the need of advanced healthcare services and capsule-based medications.

Moreover, the pharmaceutical industry in the region, particularly in China and India, is making swift progress. These factors are critical drivers for the APAC empty capsules market, which will witness nearly threefold revenue development over the following decade. 

Liquid-fill Hard-capsule Technology to Streamline Manufacturing Process

Liquid-fill hard-capsule technology is rapidly becoming a favorable approach for developing anti-cancer drug agents, as well as high-potency drug products. This technology offers processing convenience by minimizing the risk of cross-contamination of drugs, decreases the need for complicated and cost-prohibitive engineering controls, and ensures product consistency.

Availability of contract facilities with relevant specialized full-scale good manufacturing practices (GMP) plans has made liquid-fill hard-capsule technology a commercially viable approach. Such novel methods for drug dosage form fillings will provide further impetus to the empty capsules market.

An Overview of Empty Capsules Market

Pharmaceutical companies hold over 60% of total empty capsules market stack, driven by at-scale development of novel therapeutic drugs. Although this end user category will lose its grip in market revenue in due course of time, empty capsule manufacturers continue to view pharmaceutical companies as their primary customers.

Moving on, increasing caseloads of lifestyle-associated disorders - diabetes, obesity, and cholesterol - in tandem with evolving consumer expectations, will boost the sales of health-centric products. As such, empty capsule manufacturers are channelizing their investments toward cosmetic & nutraceutical companies.

Key Segment

Product Type

  • Gelatin (Hard)-based Capsules
  • Vegetarian-based Capsules

Raw Material

  • Contract Type-A (Pork Skin)
  • Type-B Gelatin (Animal Bones & Calf Skin)
  • Fish Bone Gelatin
  • Hydroxy Propyl Methyl Cellulose (HPMC)
  • Starch Materials
  • Pullulan

Capsule Size

  • Size "000" Capsules
  • Size "00" Capsules
  • Size "0" Capsules
  • Size "1" Capsules
  • Size "2" Capsules
  • Size "3" Capsules
  • Size "4" Capsules
  • Size "5" Capsules

Route of Administration

  • Oral Administration
  • Inhalation Administration

End User

  • Pharmaceutical Companies
  • Cosmetic & Nutraceutical Companies
  • Clinical Research Organizations (CROS)


  • North America
  • Latin America
  • Western Europe
  • Eastern Europe
  • APEJ
  • Japan
  • MEA

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Empty Capsules Market