The International Food Information Council, Washington, survey, “From ‘Chemical Sounding’ to ‘Clean’: Consumer Perspectives on Food Ingredients,” showed that 63% of adults say the ingredients in a food or beverage have at least a moderate influence on what they buy. The words “natural” and “artificial” elicited a strong reaction when it came to food choices, with 35% of respondents stating they seek colors from natural sources.
Such natural sources of color include varied flora that contain colorful compounds, such as anthocyanins, carotenoids and chlorophyll. Adding concentrated forms of whole fruits and vegetables, or parts of edible plants to foods and beverages, delivers the compounds while maintaining a clean label.
The ingredients are known in Europe as “coloring food,” a term coined by GNT’s founder about 40 years ago. They are manufactured using physical methods, such as chopping, heating and filtering and retain the characteristic properties of the source material.
In the United States, coloring foods appear on ingredient labels as “fruit and/or vegetable juice (for color).” Spirulina, a blue-green algae is declared as “spirulina extract (for color)” and turmeric, which is the ground root of the namesake plant that contains orange-colored curcumin, is labeled “turmeric (for color).” When the color comes from the same food that it is coloring, an extra declaration is often not necessary.
The ingredients may be included in seasoning blends, allowing for topical application. Imagine a basic puffed corn snack seasoned with a pickled purple carrot seasoning for a salt and vinegar flavor profile. The product may now be called a purple carrot corn puff.
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