The powders, the company revealed, are available in standard and micronized form. They are being pushed out under the group’s EXBERRY ingredient brand.
GNT said the high intensity blues are offered with a choice of carriers, including maltodextrin or sugar. They are guaranteed to be trehalose-free, ensuring good levels of consumer acceptance.
Natural and nutritional
GNT said food and beverage manufacturers can use the new powders to formulate products with high intensity blues from a ‘natural and traceable source’.
Spirulina is a blue-green filamentous cyanobacteria (algae) that occurs naturally in freshwater and marine habitats.
“The challenge of achieving vibrant blue colours in food using only ingredients from a natural origin is well understood. However, naturalness is what consumers are demanding so there is pressure on manufacturers to deliver that,” Sonja Scheffler, GNT product manager, said.
GNT produces its colouring foods from spirulina at its dedicated factory in the Netherlands. A recent investment programme has doubled GNT's spirulina processing capacity.
GNT manufactures its colouring foodstuffs, sold under the EXBERRY brand, using ‘gentle, physical processes’ such as pressing, filtering and concentrating. In this way, the ingredients retain the characteristic properties of the source material and concentrates are not selectively extracted.
This approach means that, under EU regulations, colouring foodstuffs are not classified as additives but as foods with colouring properties. This means that they are label friendly and can help manufacturers meet consumer demand for clean label products whilst still delivering bright, fresh colours.
In the US, however, while EXBERRY Coloring Foods are derived from fruit and vegetables, all colour ingredients are classified as food additives, regardless of their original source.
As well as offering a fully-natural solution for blue colouring foods, which are traditionally viewed as difficult to produce, GNT stressed that spirulina is a naturally blue-green algae known for its nutritional properties.
Performance and functionality
As well as being label friendly, GNT stressed that the new powdered blues are highly functional.
Their high intensity level allows for reduced doses and, according to the supplier, it offers 'superior solubility and stability’ in a number of applications.
Scheffler explained: “Our new high intensity blue powders from spirulina will make it significantly easier to [produce vibrant blues] at lower doses without compromising on important product performance factors such as solubility and stability.”
The ingredient is suitable for incorporating into instant beverages, hard-panned products, fondant, white chocolate and pressed tablets.