Consumer demand has driven numerous manufacturers to reformulate their products to remove many synthetic colorings, regardless of their proven safety. Global sales of natural colors have been projected to be more than US$600M annually, up approximately 29 percent from 2007; natural colors now account for over 40 percent of the global color market.As the demand for natural colors increases, manufacturers must increase development efforts to ensure the variety, versatility, tinctorial strength and stability of these value-added functional ingredients.
Clinical studies demonstrate the health-promoting potential of natural colors such as anthocyanins, carotenoids, turmeric and others. Since fruit and vegetable intake is suboptimal for most of the U.S. population, the addition of natural colors as value-added ingredients in food products has the potential to help increase consumption and offset a number of diet-related chronic diseases.
A study at George Mason University recently showed that anthocyanins, the blue-violet to red-orange colors in many flowers, fruits and vegetables, have significant effects on prevention and progression of cardiovascular disease (CVD). It is interesting to note that consuming the daily recommended intake of fruits and vegetables equals an intake of 30 to 35 mg of anthocyanins per day—the same amount that have been shown to have beneficial effects on CVD.
With a plethora of natural color options accessible on the market, one must be knowledgeable of both their chemical properties that influence the ability to replace synthetics as well as their health-promoting properties, which may have a lasting effect on consumers.