The desire for natural and clean label color trends is driven by health and wellness factors, particularly in the US. Global health demands are not only seeing small and innovative brands but major brands moving to naturally sourced colors; to meet today’s needs of the health conscious consumer.
Earlier this year, DDW, “The Color House,” introduced a purple corn food color powder to the food and beverage market which has been cultivated in the US.
The purple corn is cultivated, extracted and dried into powder in the US. DDW brought in whole purple corn to make a juice concentrate liquid and a powder, which is more or less the case in colors across our entire range.
72 percent of food and beverage launches in North America with added food color contain naturally derived color. Consumer preference has driven the percentage to that height despite a formulation cost premium. Unlike most of the (imported) vegetable juices used for coloring, the purple corn color is sourced in the US.
DDW customers prefer documented control from seed to sale, and the company has been busy extending their portfolio from a domestic crop that’s a sustainable, scalable source of color.
According to DDW, within the colors and coloring food space, the company has seen an increase in launches containing those ingredients. The increased interest in natural colors is down to technology and easy access to information in understanding what consumers are putting in their bodies.
From a coloring perspective, there are many new opportunities in the market. If you look at spirulina, which has been used in the EU for a number of years, it has only just been approved in the US within the last couple of years.
Similar to turmeric, it can be used for coloring purposes, but it can also be used for nutrition in different formats and there has been expansion into different application areas within the US market.
However, there are still coloring gaps in the areas of performance in green and blue, which are the most challenging colors.
In the case of red, it is very commonly used. There is no problem with red when you look at low pH applications, but once you move to neutral pH applications it becomes more challenging, and especially so if heat becomes involved.
There's still a gap there, which is largely down to carmine. With carmine, you have a kosher issue and a vegan issue, which also fit well with consumers, as they can connect on a personal level. Even though it is still widely used, it has not been used as much as it has been previously in certain retailers or markets.
The need for organic and foods related to traditions are certainly an area where DDW also see growth and opportunities.
In the mature markets like North America and Europe, the need for natural is thriving, however. But there are still parts of the world such as South Africa and Asia which have not yet converted to using natural colors.
The area of brown is a huge market globally and fairly consistent too. Trends moving to less processed colors include caramel colors which are broken down into several classes; class one to four. Beyond that in Europe, there is a category called ‘burnt sugar,’ which is probably closest in color to a class one caramel colors.
When looking at the scale that is required, to replace a segment of the market that is completely synthetic with natural colors, you will definitely see a huge impact on the supply chain and can influence things globally within the raw material markets in natural colors.
Over the past two years, DDW has opened 3 new facilities, launched a range of emulsions in the US and a new facility that development in Asia.
(By our own staff)