Organic and natural holding strong (excerpt from BEVERAGE INDUSTRY magazine, April 2012)

11 May, 2012
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Organic and natural holding strong

By Jessica Jacobsen, Managing Editor
Excerpts from BEVERAGE INDUSTRY magazine, April 2012, pp. 58-61

Natural claims show higher growth potential.

CONSUMER AWARENESS ABOUT HEALTH FOOD AND BEVERAGE CHOICES continues to grow and benefit the natural and organic beverage market. The market showed resilience during tough economic times with natural and organic food and beverage sales growing 9.4 percent in 2010 in mass merchandise, food, drug and convenience channels, as well as natural and specialty markets , according to a Mintel report titled “Natural and Organic Food and Beverage: The Market.” From 2009 to 2011, the natural and organic food and beverage market grew 20 percent, the October 2011 report adds.

COLORFUL CHOICES

“I think we’re going to see more and more beverage producers with new products coming out that are going to have the naturally derived colours in them and more natural, more toward the organic side and less formulations starting out with the synthetic colours,” says Glen Dreher, application scientist for beverages for D.D. Williamson, Louisville, Ky. “There’s less in the U.S of companies trying to replace synthetic colours in existing products. It’s really hard to do that because once the consumer knows your product in and out, they can detect really small changes, whereas when you’re formulating from the get-go with a new product it’s something new, it’s better, you can get more consumer acceptance that way.”

However, working with naturally derived colours can still present a challenge for beverage developers. Dreher notes that because of the lack of a U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) definition of “natural,” adding a naturally derived colour to a product developed with other natural ingredients limits the manufacturer from using the claim of “100 percent natural” on the bottle if that source is not naturally found in that product.
The label claim limitation, though, does not hinder naturally derived colours’ appeal to consumers. Using natural derived colours, such as those offered by D.D. Williamson, can present a clean label with words and phrases that consumers recognize, such as beta-carotene, Dreher sys.

“Consumers are looking for a cleaner label; they want to see words they understand, recognize and can pronounce, and that’s where naturally derived colours have a good role,” he says. “Consumers are used to seeing beta-carotene or beta-carotene for colour. They understand that; it’s not foreign to them. In their perception, it’s more natural.”
Beta-carotene as well as other ingredients from the carotenoid family can be used to answer increased requests for naturally derived yellow and orange hues. Dreher says emulsion technology advancements have allowed companies to offer clean colour options versus the hazier appearance in the past. These advancements have been of interest for manufacturers, especially those developing enhanced waters.

The market also has seen requests for naturally derived pink and red hues delivered from anthocyanins, which are usually sourced from fruit and vegetables such as elderberries, purple carrots and purple sweet potatoes.
Although the ability to match synthetic colours is not an easy task depending on the colour request, Dreher says more beverage developers are embracing that change.

“There is less of a concern from the producers to want to match an FD&C colour exactly and more “Let me see a range of colour that you can deliver,” and they adjust their hues,” he says.

The article continues …

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