Ultra Stable Red can extend the shelf life of beverages using natural red colours by as much as 40%, because it stops them fading, the company exclusively revealed to FoodNavigator. The potential to convert customers to the new ingredient was massive, because only 20% of red beverages worldwide currently contained natural colours, because of the problems this raised, said Chr Hansen.
Traditionally processors have struggled with the fact that red colours from natural sources fade more quickly than their more artificially sourced counterparts, especially when exposed to bright lights while on retail shelves. In order to avoid this risk firms have had to either accept shorter shelf life for their products or use costly bottles with ultraviolet (UV) filters, which prevent or defer the fading process.
The solution, which comes in two different forms, combines vegetable-based anthocyanin blends with stabilising technology and is suitable for carbonated and still soft drinks; sports drinks; mineral drinks; juices; syrups and alcoholic beverages, said Chr Hansen.
It could enable beverage manufacturers to make significant savings and encourage more of them to move from ‘artificial’ colours to natural colours, said Ellen Hemme, industry product manager in Chr Hansen’s Natural Colours Division. Processors using UV filtered bottles, which are harder to recycle said Hemme, could ditch it and instead adopt bottles that were more environmentally friendly.
Wide range of acidity levels
Ultra Stable Red offered stability to natural red colours at a wide range of acidity levels, she added, and would be available to the trade from August 27.
“Red is one of the most challenging [colours], especially when using anthocyanins, because it is very sensitive to light and temperature,” said Hemme. "If we measure [products] in sunlight or artificial light, the current shelf life could go 30-40% longer.
"We have been collaborating with customers in different areas of the world across different beverages. We believe we are the only ones offering this solution with anthocyanins."
Chr Hansen had also committed to working with farmers to source the raw material for the anthocyanins in a sustainable way, she said.