The food industry’s rush to reformulate away from the so-called Southampton colours, cocktails of which were linked to hyperactivity in children in a study published in The Lancet in 2007, has led to a steep increase in demand for colours from natural sources.
This demand has been increased further by the requirement that all food products containing the six colours carry a warning label, which came into force on 20 July last year.
Udi Alroy, VP global marketing and sales at LycoRed, said that stability is one of the big challenges food manufacturers face when using natural colours. He said that the new yellow-orange colour, called Lyc-O-Beta 1% CWS, is highly stable to light, heat and oxygen, “both within the powder itself and when released into the food matrix”. It is also said to be stable at a variety of pH levels.
“This has been achieved by optimizing the formulation and the anti-oxidant system used to protect the colour,” he explained.
The powder, which dissolves instantly in cold water, is suitable for use in a wide range of products, including beverages, icing, ice cream, fruit preparations, jelly beans and other confectionery, baked goods and dairy applications.
Alroy said the company has conducted a lot of application trials in-house. In addition, the company makes its expertise in this area available to customers, to help them launch their products to market in the shortest time possible.
Bolstered vitamin content
Beta carotene is a pro-vitamin A carotenoid, and even if it is used primarily as a colouring in a food or beverage product, it also adds to its nutritional profile. According to LycoRed, its use help make up for vitamin A deficiencies in cases where fruit and vegetable consumption is insufficient.
The US Institute of Medicine give the recommended adequate daily intake of vitamin A as between 300 and 1300 μg per day, depending on life-stage, with higher intakes needed by children and pregnant and lactating women.
As a potent anti-oxidant natural beta carotene has also been researched for its role in protecting against oxidative damage on a cellular level.