Diana Food North America, part of Germany's Symrise Group, has introduced a line of organic, sustainably sourced colors for foods and beverages. According to Food Business News, they include a blue made from spirulina and a pink/reddish color sourced from red beet. Yellow, orange, red and purple made from carrots, turmeric and annatto also are available.
Food Business News said the colors are USDA-certified as organic, are non-GMO and are sustainably sourced by Diana Food’s agronomy experts in farming areas around the world. The colors can be used in a variety of products like confectionery, dairy and beverages. The company also creates specialized blends for custom color applications.
"Diana Food has a legacy of 'natural' that preceded coloring foods," Teresa Kilgore, the company's category manager of Sweet and Beverage, said on the company's website. "Our commitment to selecting the best of what nature has to offer is an accidental coincidence that works to our customers' advantage in natural, organic colors.”
Diana Food seems to be positioning itself on the cutting edge of color solutions with this new line of plant-based, organic, non-GMO and sustainably sourced colors for foods and beverages. Consumers want natural ingredients in their foods, and they are leery of artificial colors that look and taste like they came from a lab.
Statistics bear this out. A GNT global consumer survey done in 2017 found 79% of consumers define "natural" as being made without artificial colors. As a result, manufacturers have been phasing out artificial colors in their products and moving to more natural ingredients. Hershey, General Mills, Campbell Soup and other food giants have worked to create or reformulate older recipes without artificial colors.
Manufacturers of natural colors look to have a bright future since Zion Market Research projects the global natural food color market will top $1.77 billion by 2021 — a compound annual growth rate of nearly 5.2% from 2016 to 2021.
When it comes to finding natural colors to replace artificial ones, certain colors of the rainbow are more difficult to duplicate. Darwin Bratton, Hershey's vice president of research and development, previously told Food Dive the biggest challenge in changing some products is the limited availability of certain “natural” ingredients like vanilla or the color blue. If Diana Food can overcome these obstacles, it could open up a larger market for natural color substitutes and attract the interest of more large food and beverage companies.
It has been said that consumers eat first with their eyes, so colors also tease anticipated flavors to consumers — a key opportunity for food manufacturers to differentiate themselves from their competitors. Research has found 90% of shoppers make up their minds about buying a product from its color and perceived taste. If the color is appealing, they're more likely to buy it. In an online poll commissioned for Lycored, 88% of mothers said in 2016 they would be willing to pay more for the natural version. On average, they would pay 47% more to avoid the artificial colors.
The color spectrum Diana Food is offering ranges from blue, orange and yellow to pink, red and purple — with customized shades available. These colors are popular choices because they've been found to evoke emotion, hunger and a belief that the foods containing them are more nutritious.