Consumers today feel their foods should be as natural as possible – with no additives whatsoever. (Sponsored article by Wild.)
Manufacturers take this into consideration during the product-development phase and are using more colouring foodstuffs and colours from natural sources.
In response Wild has expanded its portfolio to include colours based on red radish and red cabbage. The trend towards naturalness is accompanied by a rising demand for clean-label products – in other words, for foods that have few, if any, additives and contain no E-numbers. For example, according to a 2010 study by the market-research institute Ipsos, over 50% of German consumers prefer products which do not have any preservatives, artificial additives or flavour enhancers.
Colouring foodstuffs are extracts or concentrates derived from edible sources such as vegetables, plants, fruits or spices. The natural raw material is used in its entirety, and its colourant pigments are not concentrated. The final formulation has to have the sensory and colourant properties that are typical of the raw material.
“Our R&D team has established additional natural sources that can be developed as colouring foodstuffs and has carefully selected the raw materials based on their colourant properties,” explained Wild Ingredients product manager, Hélène Möller.
The colouring foodstuff from red radish generates a more yellowy red, while the concentrate derived from red cabbage is closer to pink. Depending on the desired shade, the colours can be used individually or combined with other colouring foodstuffs, such as purple carrots or safflower.
“We help manufacturers by recommending concepts which will yield the optimal colour outcome, and we give our customers standardised blends that are custom-tailored to their needs. This permits us to guarantee stable colours and compensate for fluctuations in raw materials. Furthermore, we use the appropriate test methods to simulate how colours react in the respective product and its packaging.”
Owned by Wild since 1987, the Valencia plant product portfolio features fruit-juice concentrates, natural fruit sweetening systems and plant extracts.
These are available as juice concentrates and are distinctive because of their high levels of stability. They are especially well suited for use in soft drinks and juice drinks.
Unlike colouring foodstuffs, colours from natural sources involve selectively concentrating the colour pigments. These are obtained by processes such as extraction, from the natural sources. These have to be declared on the list of ingredients by indicating the E-number or the name of the colourant. Wild works with many raw materials, depending on the application and the desired shade. Options include anthocyanins, carotenoids, copper chlorophylline, beta-carotene, carmine and betanin (beet red).
“Parameters such as heat, light, oxygen and pH-value have to be taken into account, as well as whether the final product is enriched with vitamins or minerals.” When it comes to producing food, manufacturers have to bear in mind that every product entails different technological challenges. For example, a colouring or colourant foodstuff acts differently in a soft drink than in a juice beverage because the pH values are so different. So it is essential to develop custom-tailored natural products for each individual application and its specifications.
Another challenge is standardising colours from natural sources: since nature does not provide standardized (and reproducible) quality, there is great variation among the intensity of the raw material colours. Wild guarantees the high quality of its products by carefully selecting the raw material from worldwide sources, growing its own crops, working in close conjunction with the raw material suppliers and directly processing products on site using special technology.
The growing demand for colours from natural sources and colouring foodstuffs is due in part to EU guidelines and discussions about artificial colours. In July 2010, article 24 of the (EC) directive #1333/2008 on food additives went into effect. It states that all foods and beverages that contain a ‘Southampton colour’ additive must list the colour(s) or E-number followed by the warning, ‘May have an adverse effect on activity and attention in children.’ The colours in question include tartrazine (E102), quinoline yellow (E104), sunset yellow (E110), azorubine (E122), cochineal red A (E124) and allura red AC (E129).
This EU legislation has spurred on additional growth in the field of food colours from natural sources and colouring foodstuffs. “Many manufacturers have replaced synthetic colours with natural alternatives, and the latter are also preferred in new product developments. With our broad range of Colours from Nature, manufacturers can simply avoid the EU warning label altogether,” explained Hélène Möller.
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