Bold and experimental colors drive “freedom of expression” in F&B applications

07 Dec 2022 — The F&B industry continues to search for a variety of colors that are derived from natural sources and can remain stable throughout various formulation conditions. Notably, shades derived from plant sources, such as blues and reds, command attention and colors that support sustainable supply chains are also in high demand.

Meanwhile, suppliers highlight how tightening regulations and food labeling guidelines have expanded coloring solutions.

Speaking to FoodIngredientsFirstNathalie Pauleau, global product manager for Natural Colors at Givaudan, says natural colors already appeal to the general public, and organic growth in traditional categories will likely continue.

We expect to see demand for natural colors increase along with non-traditional food categories that address consumer need for mindful indulgence. Newer categories and trends like plant-based foods Vibrant orange hues are considered to raise spirits.and drinks, functional food products, personalized nutrition, nootropics and mood food offer great opportunities for applying natural color solutions,” she continues.

Feelings of positivity
Moreover, these new food experiences offer both multisensory experimentation and a positive relationship with nature, Pauleau flags.

Vibrant orange is also pumping up the volume for its emotional appeal to raise spirits, as well as its link to citrus and tropical fruits, according to Kelly Newsome, senior marketing manager, Colors, ADM.

“Orange continues to capture the attention of shoppers, as wellness is staying top of mind, and consumers tend to link citrus to vitamin C. Brighter shades of orange, like mandarin or tangerine, are bringing this color into the new year,” she says. .

Shifting consumer moods toward optimism also leaves space for lighter colors like lavender. In addition to prompting feelings of positivity, lavender also connects with a sense of relaxation, which is essential to consumers as they consider their holistic well-being, underscores Newsome. “Similar, warm, neutral shades paired with vanilla also have staying power, as they may help consumers feel more mellow and calm.”

From vibrant hues to calming shades, ADM’s technology supports the consistent innovation needed from food and beverage brands to stay ahead of shifting trends, asserts Newsome. “As we look toward 2023, new solutions will be on the horizon to continue to elevate foods and beverages with captivating, brilliant colors and dazzling visual displays,” she promises.

True blues take center stage
According to ADM, blue hues match consumers’ desires for discovery and surprise, and they are popping up in products that have limited-edition and fantasy-like flavors.

“They also tie into an overarching global trend we have identified for 2023: experiential eating,” adds Newsome. “Research shows that 66% of global consumers find new and experimental colors fun and exciting, and 48% say they are willing to pay a premium for products with these colours. We anticipate that 2023 will bring an even larger array of bright and bold blue hues, among other saturated shades.”

Notably, our naturally derived blue, which is stable in low pH systems, continues to be an industry game-changer.Consumers want ingredients they trust and those they associate with being better for the environment.

This patented acid-, light- and heat-stable color, developed from the Amazonian huito fruit, delivers not only blues but also a range of purples, greens and browns. For beverage applications, in particular, ADM’s naturally derived blue has made it possible to achieve a true blue color that is stable in low-pH systems and across different pH systems, including neutral ones. Newsome says this enables it to maintain the same blue shade in most food and beverage pH levels.

Meanwhile, Givaudan’s Pauleau also addresses the rise of natural blues. “We are very excited about our Galdieria Blue ingredients – an Acid Stable Blue will launch at the end of next year. This will finally give developers a natural blue option, plus green and purple blends, for low pH beverages and confections,” she explains.

“We’ll be able to offer a complete palette of blues, from our high-performance Vegebrite Ultimate Spirulina for neutral pH applications to our Acid Stable Galdieria Blue for lower pH applications, allowing the food industry to surprise consumers with new natural shades.”

Meanwhile, Newsome shares that manufacturers must also pay attention to trending flavor profiles and how those impact the need for innovative color solutions.

For example, purple yam and dragon fruit have made their way into the consumer consciousness, particularly as consumers increasingly look to try intriguing flavor profiles. These ‘buzz-worthy’ flavors drive appeal for vivid shades, which manufacturers can execute with our wide ingredient portfolio and capabilities.”

Loud and proud colors
ADM believes that the new year will bring an “increased focus on freedom of expression,” which will influence the colors and corresponding flavors that consumers are drawn to.

“As identified in our recently unveiled 2023 Flavor and Color Outlook report, people are seeking ways to express themselves through playfulness, discovery and excitement,” explains Newsome. She notes that loud and bright pinks will prominently showcase themselves in over-the-top baked goods, desserts, snacks, sauces and a range of beverages.

Globally, 56% of consumers say they like food to have bright and intense colours. We’ll also see saturated shades of blue, teal, purple, and orange take hold across categories.”

Recently acquired by Givaudan, DDW has developed a sustainable natural red color, Amaize Red.

Using conventional breeding practices, the innovation team worked with farmers to develop a breed of purple corn whose color is concentrated on the outside of the kernels, allowing it to be gently extracted using water.

The corn kernels remain intact when the color has been fully extracted and can be sold to farmers for animal feed to reduce waste, Pauleau details.

Meanwhile, she addresses that there are still no viable options for a kosher heat stable red.

“Developing blends and looking at new sources that could meet this need is high on our priority list for customers.”

Tightening global regulations
Today’s consumers are increasingly scrutinizing product labels for ingredients they deem “closer to nature,” helping satisfy their desire for more transparency in their F&B purchases.

Bright pinks will be showcased in baked goods, desserts, snacks, and a range of beverages, says ADM.ADM’s Newsome says consumers want ingredients they recognize and trust, in addition to those they associate with being better for the environment.

“Ingredients derived from natural sources check these boxes, which is why 76% of global consumers say it’s important that food and drink products do not contain artificial colors.”

Regulating government bodies are also putting pressure on brands to seek new color solutions.

For instance, titanium dioxide (TiO2) has been highly scrutinized.

After EU regulators recently deemed the European Commission’s decision to ban TiO2 a “manifest error” of assessment, the status of TiO2 is being questioned. However, the industry has been moving away from the colorant for some time.

According to Newsome, ADM’s PearlEdge portfolio of brilliant white solutions is derived from natural sources, including native corn starch, and is an excellent replacement for TiO2 across F&B categories.

“Our PearlEdge line also has added benefits of building uniformity and opacity in beverages, as well as creating an even coating in panned confections and glossy surfaces in hard candies,” she adds.

Moreover, Pauleau at Givaudan says that specifically in Europe, coloring foodstuffs are not considered additives and are increasingly used in formulations.

Colors from recognized foods that are lightly processed to retain their characteristic properties. This form of clean labeling is highly desirable for consumers and thus widely sought by manufacturers.”

Pauleau concludes that Givaudan’s Vegebrite line of coloring foodstuffs is answering the demand for the simplest labeling options.

By Elizabeth Green

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