KANSAS CITY — Extracts of algae, carrots or tomatoes in such products as candy, macaroni and cheese, or strawberry beverages may sound unusual, but the strategies may allow formulators to take advantage of the movement toward naturally-sourced colors. Colors extracted from vegetables and other natural sources may replace synthetic colors such as blue 1, yellow 5, yellow 6 and red 40.

A 2013 report from Mintel and Leatherhead Food Research predicts the trend toward greater use of naturally-sourced colors will continue, especially in the premium food and drink segments and products positioned for children. Global sales of naturally-sourced colors in 2011 were estimated at $600 million, up by almost 29% from 2007. Global sales of artificial/synthetic colors in 2011 were estimated at $570 million, up less than 4% from 2007.

Click for a slideshow of natural color sources.