‘It is important to tell the story about colour in a positive way’: GNT

By Oliver Morrison contact

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: GNT, Colours, Ingredients, Clean label

We spoke to GNT’s managing director, Frederik Hoeck, about the colour company’s 'field to finished product’ approach.

GNT is positioning itself as a supplier of natural colours to food manufacturers via its Exberry range of colours.

GNT’s EXBERRY brand uses ‘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. Thanks to this 'field to finished product’ approach it can produce natural colours that appear ‘unnaturally’ vibrant.

“For the first time in the industry I’d say it’s possible to tell the story about colours in a positive and transparent way,”​ said GNT’s managing director, Frederik Hoeck.

Colours, he explained, have sometimes been in the past met with mistrust by consumers because they were a little bit artificial. “We would like to turn this around to say colours are a positive. They are good for you, they come from nature and we can tell our story in a positive and transparent way.”

As many as 80% of the vegetables, fruits and edible plants used to make EXBERRY colours are cultivated in an area close to the company’s production plants in the Netherlands and Germany. Crops grown include orange and black carrots, pumpkins and radishes.

GNT’s growers produce crop varieties from seeds developed by GNT’s own agronomists, using non-GMO methods, in order to deliver the exact color shade required.

The agronomists also manage relationships with GNT’s growers. This vertical approach gives the company full control over its supply chain, so it can deliver colour consistency and security of supply.

After harvesting, the raw ingredients travel the short distance to GNT’s facility in Heinsberg, Germany. Here, vegetables, fruits and plants are processed into semi-finished ingredients using physical methods that include pressing, chopping, filtering and concentrating. Chemical solvents are never used.

The proximity of the fields to the Heinsberg plant ensures raw materials arrive when they are still fresh. At this point they are processed immediately, or put into frozen storage for later use, guaranteeing they will deliver optimised color quality.

From Heinsberg, the semi-finished concentrates are transported to GNT’s factory in Mierlo, Netherlands, where they are blended and further processed into finished ingredients ready for use in food and beverage products. Mierlo is also home to GNT’s extensive quality control laboratory. Every year, GNT’s two factories produce about 8,500 tons of concentrates – enough to colour 35 billion portions of food.

Meanwhile, at GNT’s facility in Aachen, Germany, food and beverage companies can perfect their formulations in GNT’s state-of-the art pilot plant, which is equipped with trial-sized versions of widely used manufacturing and storage equipment.

GNT is a family-owned company. Combined with GNT’s vertical integration of the supply chain, this ensures full traceability, price and stock stability.

"Nature has so much to give​,” continued Hoeck. “We make it available to our customers by providing food ingredients trust.”

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