The company introduced its first generation range of FruitMax colouring foodstuffs two years ago. Colouring foodstuffs are edible, recognised foodstuffs that impart colour to a product; according to the guidelines laid down by the Natural Food Colours Association (NatCol), they do not involve purification of the colour or extraction of a pigment.
Lionel Schmitt, vice president of commercial development in the colour division, told FoodNavigator.com that developing the new additions involved finding suitable sources, including new plant varieties with high pigment content, working on the formulation, and securing the supply of the materials.
“Applications like confectionery, for which the new range is extremely well suited, push us to look into new sources inside the fruit and vegetable world and identify some that provide some specific features, such as a high level of pigment and the capability to be stable in the formulation and final application,” Schmitt said.
The eight new shades are mixtures of plant, fruit and vegetable materials. Their names refer to the final colour achieved rather than the origin: FruitMax Hazelnut, Orange, Peach, Pink Grape, Pomegranate, Redcurrant, Starfruit (yellow) and Yumberry (pink/violet).
As well as confectionery, the ingredients are also said to be suitable for use in beverages, ice cream, fruit preparations and dairy products.
In developing natural colouring foodstuffs, the emphasis is on sourcing, since purification processes are forbidden – except where the genuine balance between pigments, flavours, sugars and other components is maintained.
“The challenge is to use the processes allowed, to find new sources thanks to new varieties, that are more rich than others in pigments,” Schmitt said.
Of the eight new additions, primary colours such as bright red and bright yellow are particularly hard to achieve. There is more flexibility with shades such as orange, that can be blended from a number of sources.
Schmitt said that there are still some ‘missing’ shades in the colouring foodstuffs line-up. For instance, it remains to find a blue solution.
“There are some blue-green sources, but these require selective extraction of anthocyanins. We do not provide blue as a colouring foodstuff as we want to stick to the guidelines.”
Demand for natural colours and colouring foodstuffs is high due to the present emphasis on healthy eating.
The Southampton study, which linked certain cocktails of artificial colours to hyperactivity in children, has also stimulated the market in the last 18 months.
The use of colouring foodstuffs developed in the wake of the European colour legislation of 1997, when some countries, such as Germany, interpreted the law to allow for flexibility – that is, using some foods that naturally contain colours need not be declared as colours, but as foodstuffs.