The Narendra Modi government’s push to replace animal-origin gelatin with plant-based cellulose capsules has prodded ACG, the supplier of capsules, to set up the world’s largest greenfield vegetarian capsule factory at an investment of Rs 800 crore in Aurangabad, Maharashtra.
Karan Singh, managing director of the Mumbai-based ACG, told ET that the company has got land allotted by the Maharashtra government and is looking to take advantage of the production linked incentive (PLI) scheme announced by the Centre.
The Central government has added empty cellulose capsules manufacturing eligible under the PLI scheme. "The intention is that if there is a vegetarian alternative available, why not migrate towards it?" Singh said, adding that ACG has developed technology to make cellulose capsules.
Singh said there have been several rounds of meetings with a committee set up by the government on possibilities of minimising the use of gelatin and complete elimination of cow slaughter for this purpose. "Part of our commitment to the government was that we will pay more attention to this," Singh said.
Gelatin capsules are derived from cow or buffalo bones and hides, while cellulose from the bark of a tree, which through a chemical process is converted into water-soluble material and moulded into a capsule.