BY CHRISTIANE LIPPERT
HEAD OF MARKETING (FOOD), LYCORED
Across the world, consumers are sending a powerful message to manufacturers that they want the coloUrs in their food and drink products to be natural. According to Nielsen’s August 2016 report on ingredient trends, 61% of consumers internationally say they try to avoid artificial colours.
Lycored has commissioned detailed research to measure the extent to which consumers value natural colours and the implications of their preferences for manufacturers. An online poll of 506 health-conscious US mothers was carried out. They were shown three samples of strawberry-flavoured milk – two coloured naturally with reds from Lycored’s Tomat-O-Red range and one artificially with Red 3 (erythrosine). Unprompted, they rated both Lycored colours as looking more natural on a ten-point scale.
The researchers also asked pricing questions to assess whether there was any willingness to pay more for a naturally coloured product. When asked ‘would you be willing to pay more for a product with natural flavourings and colours?’ almost nine in ten survey respondents (88%) said they would. We also conducted qualitative research, exploring reactions to the same samples among opinion-leading, on-trend consumers. Comments on the Tomat-O-Red natural samples included: ‘looks the most natural to a blended strawberry, therefore potentially most healthy for my children’.
Furthermore, Lycored’s natural colours are highly resilient. When we tested the stability of the same Tomat-O-Red samples in UHT conditions, they outperformed the artificial colour across all tests.
Our research offers two clear conclusions. First: consumers perceive the naturalness of Lycored’s colours to be more visually appealing than artificial alternatives. Second: their preference for naturally coloured products is so powerful that they will pay significantly more for them. Given that artificial colours can easily be replaced with natural options the opportunities are clear. A switch to natural will resonate with shoppers, give products a more positive brand positioning, and enable higher pricing.
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2019