Demand for natural ingredients must be met by ingredients companies looking to make significant gains in the health arena. German Wild group has taken up the challenge, announcing this week the launch of a new plant-based colour for the beverage and food industry.
Natural colours may well be considerably more expensive than their synthetic sisters but food manufacturers moving in today's industry have to listen to the consumer, and the consumer wants natural. Despite the irrational basis of many assumptions, consumers are increasingly suspicious of synthetic colours.
Synthetic colours are water or oil-soluble dyes made by chemical processes. The raw materials are largely derivatives of naphthalene. Natural colours, by contrast, are extracted from different types of natural sources by a variety of means, typically using water or another solvent, followed by purification or drying.
Obtained from hazelnut and onion extracts, Wild has developed a new plant extract that provides a reddish-brown tone.
According to the company, the hazelnut-onion extract has a neutral taste and high stability to light, heat and oxygen in the neutral and acidic pH range. Natural colours are more vulnerable to these conditions than their more resilient synthetic equivalents.
In low dosages, the extract produces a deep brown tone with a reddish background. The higher the dosage, the more intensive the red tone becomes, while the brown background remains unchanged, said Wild .
Doubts over possible allergenic links with hazelnuts were dispersed by the company, 'the allergenic potential of the hazelnut-onion extract, according to in-depth analyses, is considered to be negligible, since there is no evidence of hazelnut protein'.
Available as water and oil-soluble liquids and powders, the company markets its colours under the brand Colors from Nature.
The UK CompetitionCommission estimates the value of the synthetic food colours market in the UK at just under £8 million (€11.5m) annually with natural colours coming in at £26 million.