Standing out from the crowd (Part 1): Natural colors take the spotlight

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01 May 2018 --- When it comes to buying food and beverages appealing natural colors, consumers often associate vibrant colors with freshness, quality and taste. In a world consumed by social media, consumers also place high value on colorful food to make their Instagram and Facebook feeds attractive. At the same time, the focus now is on healthy eating, natural ingredients and no artificial colors or additives. Natural colors have been making waves in the industry for some time, unicorn themed cupcakes, green smoothies and purple gummies are just the beginning.

Innova Market Insights’ trend forecast for 2018 revealed “Say it with Color” as trend #6. Natural food colors are opening up opportunities to deliver vibrant colored foods with a clean label. Color-rich foods and spices like beetroot, spirulina and turmeric are increasingly recognized for their health benefits and are being featured in a wider number of products.


“‘Instagrammable’ food is becoming increasingly vital to Millennials, so the time for foods with vibrant colors has arrived,” says Lu Ann Williams, Director of Innovation at Innova Market Insights.


Innova Market Insights has reported a 14 percent CAGR in food & beverage launches tracked featuring food colors from 2012 to 2016. At the same time, a 14 percent CAGR has been reported in new food & beverage launches featuring contains “natural colors”/”natural concentrates & extracts” claims (2012-2016, global). For several years, we have seen products marketed on color platforms and the trend is showing no signs of slowing down.


Natural black
Click to EnlargeBlack foods have become increasingly popular and also contribute to new flavor profile or claim that boasts added health benefits. Last month, Swirl’s Ice Cream launched black ice cream to the food market in the Netherlands, and the company believes that black ice cream will be popular with consumers looking for new eating experiences.


“The black food trend has been obvious internationally for quite some time now. We’ve seen black hamburgers, black macarons and even black pasta. We are very proud to be the very first to introduce black ice cream to the Netherlands,” says Tjerk van der Linden, Swirl’s Ice Cream.


The black color of this ice cream is created by adding a plant-based black carbon powder, made from coconut shells, so it also fits within plant-based food trends. The powder is tasteless, ensuring the ice cream keeps it delicious and familiar vanilla taste, according to van der Linden.


Black-colored foods have increased. For example, the acceptance of squid ink as more than a novelty ingredient, and the rise of activated charcoal as a health food, in croissants and burger buns across the globe, gaining popularity in countries across Asia.


Black garlic claims to have anti-inflammatory effects, high antioxidant content, and other properties. At Foodex last month, FoodIngredientsFirst visited The Hawkshead Relish Company, whose Black Garlic Ketchup has been a huge hit since it was launched back in April 2017, has won several awards for its product, including the 2018 World Food Innovation Awards and Gold in the Best Condiment/Marinade category. The company devised the product which uses whole Garlic Bulbs which have been cooked slowly for up to 50 days until they are black, rich and sweet, to create ketchup that can be used both as a condiment and as an ingredient. Mark Whitehead MBE, Managing Director who devised the recipe said: “It’s amazing how well this has been received as it’s a completely new product for the UK. We are delighted that chefs and cooks around the country have taken such a great interest in it and now to be recognized on a world level is a great honor and very exciting for us.”


PClick to Enlargeurple power
The trend towards purple foods and beverages is rooted in health and wellness, as well as visual appeal. For fruits and vegetables, purple indicates a high phytonutrient content which signals health and wellbeing to consumers. As a result, purple vegetables such as purple carrots, sweet potatoes and yams appear more frequently in supermarkets.


Earlier this year, Pantone, a global authority on color, named UltraViolet their “color of the year,” which will continue to drive the demand for purple. At the same time, fragrance and flavor company Firmenich declared fig as their flavor of the year which in turn fits perfectly with the trend towards purple.


“Simply speaking, the trend for 2018 is purple,” says Paul Collins, Director of International Sales and Marketing at GNT. Whether it is lavender, dark violet, magenta, lilac or mauve – all imaginable shades are predicted to hit retail shelves this year and the Exberry Purple Collection is positioned to meet this trend, according to Collins.


“Color is one of, if not the most important buying criterion for food and beverages, today. Manufacturers need to be aware of the latest trends to make their products succeed on the shelf,” says Carla Compte, Country Sales Manager GNT Iberia S.L. “Our market trend analysis shows that 2018 is the year for purple! It is an ideal color shade to attract attention and to deliver inspiring food and beverage that meet the needs of consumers.”


Yellow, orange & red
WILD Flavors & Specialty Ingredients (WFSI), a business unit of Archer Daniels Midland Company (ADM), is also extending its portfolio of natural colors, with the use of yellow, orange and red hues for various food applications.


“Naturalness has always been at the core of our business and ethos, and we continue to innovate in response to evolving consumer demands. Staying ahead of current trends and offering food and beverage developers an advantage in an increasingly competitive market is important to our business,” claims Jochen Heininger, Vice President of Marketing and Product Management, EMEAI, WFSI.Click to Enlarge


WFSI experience began with fruit-based compounds and concentrates for non-alcoholic beverages, before manufacturing fruit preparations for use in the dairy industry, and in confectionery products, baked goods and ice creams.


Following this path, the company worked with elderberry to create rich red tones, launching the first coloring food that could be purchased either separately for flexible use in final applications or as an ingredient within a full-solution compound. At the time, the product already fulfilled the criteria for current EU guidelines about coloring foodstuffs, and the original formulation remains unchanged.


Earlier this year, Diana Food exhibited its concepts derived from vegetables and fruits for the food industry in the confectionery space. Natural coloring foods and fruit and vegetable inclusions were represented on the stand. At the ProSweets event, in Cologne, Audrey Galli, Category Manager for Sweet & Beverages EMEA said: “Our range of ‘Sunset Swirl Lollipops,’ are cocktail flavored lollipops with orange and yellow coloring foods and our ‘Redbell Pepper Candies,’ offer a very eye-catching red color. Sugar and gum confectionery is the main category to appeal with naturally brighter and more vivid colored concepts.”


“These intense shades of yellow carrot, orange carrot and pumpkin are quite new concepts that we see coming to the market. When we see what we can do with fruit and vegetables, in this way, many doors open for us,” says Galli. You can read the full coverage here.


Stay tuned with FoodIngredientsFirst where Part 2 of this report will be available later this week.


By Elizabeth Green

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