The colour range, produced from natural dyes in combination with the Synthite’s natural antioxidant products, will offer ice cream manufacturers with a solution to growing demand for clean-label products, whilst offering additional health benefits, said the company.
“We believe natural colours enable our customers to offer clean labelled products with numerous supplementary health benefits,” said Synthite.
Speaking with FoodNavigator, Geo George of Synthite said there is a huge demand for natural colours, especially in the target markets of children. He added that any potential health benefit from the colour solutions is a bonus to the high demand for clean-label products.
“For example, if you take curcumin, it has been shown to have anti-cancer properties, whereas some of the dyes that are currently used have been suggested to cause cancer.”
“So we are shifting from a potentially dangerous material to a new material that might even improve your health,” said George.
Synthite said its new colours for ice cream – which will expand its Necol range of natural colours – is carefully chosen from botanicals that in addition to having health benefits are completely traceable from farm level.
George noted that the natural colour arena is growing year on year by around six or seven percent, whilst synthetic colour demand has stagnated.
“Although synthetic colours have cost lower and are more stable than natural colours, the consumer concerns over health have resulted in market demand of natural colour outpacing the synthetic colours.”
“Predictions for the market for 2013, suggest the market for natural colours, and especially beta-carotene, is huge,” said George.
“When the target market is for kids, like for confectionery and for ice cream, then it is very important that you can sell on the bases of natural colours
Cost of change
George did concede that shifting from synthetic to a natural colour nearly always results in some form of cost impact. But he noted that because colours are used in such low volumes as part of an ice cream product.
"Over the last few months we’ve had a dedicated team of application experts working on in our dairy applications R&D centre. And based on their work we have come up with 20 new shades of natural colours for ice creams.”
“We started to get a basic scientific understanding of the metrics by testing these with the five standard pasteurisation processes used by industry.”
“After the basic R&D process was done, we wanted to see whether it would cost effectively work for customers. So, we selected some of our customers who wanted to change to a natural colour, and we trialled our dyes with their products."
George says some of the companies decided the products with natural colours were able to move straight onto the shelves, adding that some will be launched ‘very soon’.