Dispatches from HIE 2010

Natural food colourings now the consistent choice

By Ben Bouckley

- Last updated on GMT

Paul Collins, managing director, GNT International, charts the growth in interest of clean-label natural fruit and vegetable-based colours “that use food to provide the colour to food”, as the industry moves away from chemical alternatives.

In the wake of the University of Southampton’s seminal 2007 ‘Southampton Six’ study of six artificial food colourings – one of the conclusions of which was to note increased hyperactivity as a result of consumption amongst children – the EU imposed limits on their food use, and Collins says this accelerated industry demand for natural colour solutions.

Moreover, as he points out, since July 2010 products containing the six additives (E 110, E 104, E122, E129, E102 E124) must now carry warning labels, which is undesirable for both manufacturers or retailers from a sales perspective.

Historically, when using natural colourings, there have been doubts about consistency of colour result, shelf reliability in final application and cost in use – but Collins insists that GNT International’s latest products show what can be achieved. And while he admits there is there is a cost factor involved as against petrochemical-derived solutions, he insists this is outweighed by “tangible consumer benefits”.

As for key food and beverage growth areas for natural colour solutions, Collins pinpoints confectionery due to its traditional high use of artificial colours, but also cites beverage, dairy, bakery. But as he points out, “there isn’t part of food industry that isn’t touched by the trend”.

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