Optoacoustic (OA, photoacoustic) imaging synergistically combines rich optical contrast with the resolution of ultrasound within light-scattering biological tissues. Contrast agents have become essential to boost deep-tissue OA sensitivity and fully exploit the capabilities of state-of-the-art OA imaging systems, thus facilitating the clinical translation of this modality. Inorganic particles with sizes of several microns can also be individually localized and tracked, thus enabling new applications in drug delivery, microrobotics, or super-resolution imaging. However, significant concerns have been raised regarding the low bio-degradability and potential toxic effects of inorganic particles. Bio-based, biodegradable nano- and microcapsules consisting of an aqueous core with clinically-approved indocyanine green (ICG) and a cross-linked casein shell obtained in an inverse emulsion approach are introduced. The feasibility to provide contrast-enhanced in vivo OA imaging with nanocapsules as well as localizing and tracking individual larger microcapsules of 4-5 µm is demonstrated. All components of the developed capsules are safe for human use and the inverse emulsion approach is known to be compatible with a variety of shell materials and payloads. Hence, the enhanced OA imaging performance can be exploited in multiple biomedical studies and can open a route to clinical approval of agents detectable at a single-particle level.