NPD, Clean Label and sustainability focus

As consumers increasingly switch to plant-based diets and new regulations come into force restricting the use of colorings deemed too hazardous by food safety authorities, food manufacturers need to be aware of the colorings they use and how they affect the marketing of their products.

Health conscious consumers are now pushing for manufacturers to use clean label ingredients and according to Nathalie Pauleau – Global Product Manager for Natural Colors at Givaudan – finding natural, clean label alternatives to more synthetically produced colors has been high on the agenda from most manufacturers. This came at a time when the cost and availability of raw materials remained difficult.

“There’s no turning back on the clean label trend”she explains. “While the cost and availability of raw materials is indeed a challenge, our mission at Givaudan is to continue to provide manufacturers with high-performing natural color solutions that meet consumer expectations for visually appealing, clean and clear food experiences on labels.”

The push for clean label alternatives is clearly being led by growing consumer demand.

Simpler, cleaner ingredients

Caty Meleuc, technical specialist for Kalsec paints, says: “Natural colorings from fruits, vegetables and other natural sources are increasingly in demand by consumers. Consumers are looking for simpler, cleaner ingredient claims.

“They want to know and understand the ingredients of the food and drink they consume. Naturally derived colorings are helping to allay consumer concerns about synthetic food colorings.”

Fermentation is a route many manufacturers have chosen to create colors that are both vegan-friendly and sustainable. At the heart of these discussions is the generation of natural blues, with manufacturers – particularly in the baking and confectionery industries – turning to spirulina as their ingredient of choice.

“Natural shades of blue are indeed taking center stage, not just for bakers and confectioners, but increasingly for beverage manufacturers as well‘ Pauleau continued. As consumer demand for healthy beverages grows, so does the need for natural shades of blue, used in applications such as on-trend green smoothies or blue lattes.

“Givaudan’s VegebriteTM Ultimate Spirulina is of particular interest for such applications because of its extremely pure formulation. 100% natural, trehalose-free and made with a gentle processing method, it can deliver the increasingly popular shades of blue that have traditionally been difficult to achieve with natural colors. The range obtained from blue-green microalgae is gently extracted with water and is free of trehalose.”

Plant based colors

Alongside the focus on clean label, plant-based colors have also been in the spotlight, coinciding with the gradual increase in consumers choosing to eat a plant-based diet – or one of the limits to their meat consumption, such as meat. B. Flexitarians.

Beetroot has risen as an ingredient that can do double duty, both as a recognizable, clean label and as a plant-based ingredient.

As Andreas Klingenberg of Sensient Food Colors explains, beetroot is a well-known, traditional vegetable that many consumers have recently associated with “superfood” status due to its nutritional content.

“Beetroot juice, which is made by pressing the beets and then concentrating them, contains unique red pigments, namely betalains,“, he continued.The formulation with coloring solutions based on beetroot gives products an extraordinary and distinctive visual appeal.

“Beetroot coloring solutions are widely available in the market because they are inexpensive and sourced globally.”

New regulations

While consumer demand for sustainable and plant-based options has been the key driver for the food and beverage industry of late, nothing can impact the production of new ingredients more than legal necessity. And nothing gets a wrench into the job harder than learning that the ingredient you’ve come to rely on for so long has been ruled unsafe for human consumption by food safety authorities.

A prime example of this was the recent decision on titanium dioxide (E171), the ingredient used to make white paint, which was deemed unsafe for food use in the EU. While UK manufacturers may question the impact of EU decisions on their business post-Brexit, parity with EU regulations and the potential of exporting to the single market should make manufacturers reconsider which white paint they use.

One developer who threw his hat in the ring was GNT, whose Exberry-brand plant-based food coloring landed in the pan on a clean-label alternative to titanium oxide for hard and soft confections.

Maartje Hendrickx, Market Development Manager at GNT Group said: “Exberry Shade White – HP Powder is made from rice starch and can be declared on the ingredients list as “coloring food (rice starch)” or simply as “rice starch”.

substitute for white

“In addition to supporting clean and clear declarations on the label, it offers several performance benefits. The rice starch creates a perfectly flat surface, allowing the powder to fill and smooth even the smallest indentations without cracking or chipping around the edges. It is also preservative-free with a shelf life of 24 months below 25⁰C and has no yellow or gray tint.”

Finding a suitable replacement for titanium oxide was also at the top of Givaudan’s list. Nathalie Pauleau even claimed that Givaudan’s Pure White PWS offers a whiter effect than standard titanium dioxide substitutes such as calcium carbonate.

“Pure White PWS can be found both in vegetable proteins, such as e.g.added her.

“Its regulatory status allows for deployment in multiple geographic areas, including Europe. Our coloring foods VegebriteTM White can also provide whitening properties in accordance with labeling requirements in a variety of applications.”

The world of food coloring is well beyond the need to create a safe product that is pleasing to the eye. With health and wellbeing at the forefront of people’s minds, both for the body and for the planet, manufacturers need to be more conscious about what goes into their cakes and confectionery, but paint manufacturers have proven they can handle the situation have it under control.

Juicy red plant-based burgers

In the wake of Veganuary 2022, demand for plant-based colors has increased to support the growing number of vegetarian and vegan-friendly new product developments from food and beverage manufacturers.

“Whether it’s a burger alternative, plant-based smoked salmon, or vegan fondue, color plays a huge role in visually supporting the flavor profile and creating an authentic, appealing look,” said a Sensient spokesperson.

“For example, Sensient research showed that when it came to plant-based burgers, consumers were 26% more likely to purchase the product if they only saw the juicy red burgers rather than the brown patties. This was further confirmed when they saw both options side by side: 63% preferred the more vibrant, red option.”

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