Natural colors
Keeping a bright, vibrant red color in foods may be difficult when switching to colors from natural sources.

KANSAS CITY — Food companies may have clearance for take-off from the Food and Drug Administration when it comes to using synthetic F.D.&C. colors in their products, but dark clouds have appeared in the guise of consumer concerns. In response, ingredient suppliers increasingly are putting new colors from natural sources on the application runway, ready to replace synthetic F.D.&C. colors.

Purple corn and red beets may help in replacing red No. 40. Spirulina may provide color in place of blue No. 1. Turmeric, annatto and paprika all might work in place of yellow No. 5 and yellow No. 6.

Grand View Research, San Francisco, in January projected the global market for colors from natural sources will reach $2.5 billion by 2025.

“High demand on raw materials such as fruits, vegetables and spices, coupled with substantial price fluctuations of the aforementioned products, is expected to act as a major deterrent for the market growth,” Grand View Research said. “However, the rise in investments in research and development to increase the production efficiency is expected to drive the demand over the forecast period.”

Grand View Research expects Asia Pacific to account for more than 29% of the revenue market share by 2025.

“As the popularity of natural colors continues to increase, we can make an assumption that there will not be a segment of the food industry untouched by this movement,” said Katie Rountree, application scientist for DDW, Louisville, Ky. “More and more food manufacturers are making the decision to convert their formulas to natural colors, including the grain-based food product categories.”

She pointed to data from Mintel showing only 16% of the recent food and beverage launches in Europe were formulated with synthetic color.

“Some segments within confectionery and frozen novelties still utilize a significant share of synthetic color additives,” she said.