Energy Drinks Take Aim at Busy Consumers
Consumers are flocking to energy drinks in an attempt to feel better about nutrition while maintaining our 21st Century fast-paced lifestyle.
By Mark Anthony, Ph.D., and David Feder, R.D., Technical Editors
Excerpt from WELLNESS FOODS magazine on www.foodprocessing.com, October 2011
The eye has it
With a crowded market for energy beverages, eye-appeal is vital. Just think of the impact of an energy drink that was clear instead of, say, vivid red.
“The last 10 years have seen great advances in emulsion and microemulsion technology,” says Campbell Barnum, vice president of branding & market development for D.D. Williamson, Louisville, Ky. “This allows for an expansion of the natural colour spectrum and an increased potential for use of natural colours in a variety of applications. It’s also reduced the cost. And if you’re out to build healthier drinks with eye-catching appeal, it’s important to make certain the colouring agent is consistent with the quality the natural ingredients convey.”
Sometimes the colourant can actually boost the healthy profile of the product. “Many of our natural colourants are rich in healthful phytochemicals,” says Glen Dreher, a D.D. Williamson application scientist. “For colouring purposes, however, the concentrations are generally too low to have a functional nutrition impact. The exception to the rule is beta-carotene, which can be in high enough concentrations to have a dual role, providing natural colour and a vitamin A health claim in some applications.”
The company’s beta-carotene is truly natural as opposed to synthetic beta-carotene (although both products fall under the same CFR listing in the U.S.). The natural colour pallette spans a complete range of hues from lycopene at the red end of the visible spectrum to anthocyanins at the blue-violet end. Anthocyanins are the dark blue pigments that give concord grapes and many berries their colour and personality.
Working with natural colours can present a challenge because some may be affected by temperature, pH or even time. “Not all colours are the same,” says Jason Armao, director of application and innovation for the company. “They have different properties in different applications, so it’s important for the provider to work closely with customers to determine the appropriate balance for each situation. Blends may be used to achieve exactly the right the colour. For example, beta carotene may be modified with annatto, paprika, or turmeric.”
Whatever the colour of your power beverage, it’s clear the expanding varieties of energy ingredients are providing ample opportunity for processors to rev up sales as they rev up their customers