California-based San Joaquin Valley Concentrates aims to boost its range of crystalline natural red colours, which it has developed in the US, in the global market.
The colours are derived from red fruits and vegetables concentrated and dried to create crystals, Thomas Lampe, director of business development, told FoodNavigator. He was presenting the colours at the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) Annual Meeting & Expo in Las Vegas.
“Our proprietary drying equipment takes out water very slowly over a low heat, allowing time for crystallisation, creating a fine powder,” said Lampe. “This high strength delivery form has a level of uniqueness that the industry has not seen for a while.”
The process had advantages to spray drying in that the final product was carrier free, not dusty, free flowing and non-hygroscopic, he said. It also dispersed almost instantaneously on contact with a water-based solution, Lampe added. “It spreads on the surface and when it sinks the colour develops.”
Low Calorie and clean label
The crystal colours have a two-year shelf life at ambient storage and contain five to 10 times more colour than liquid concentrates. They were developed two years ago, and the company wanted to start distribution in global markets such as Europe, Latin America and Asia, said Lampe. Being anthocyanin-based it carried the E-number 163/anthocyanin in the EU, but he said: “If you are using it for its polyphenol and antioxidant properties, it could be termed ‘fruit concentrate’ or it could be labelled as anthocyanin.” In the US, it could be labelled as 'fruit/vegetable juice for colour', he added.
“It’s very low in sugars, so you can put it in a 'zero calorie' beverage without raising the calories significantly as liquid juice and vegetable concentrates used for colour would."
San Joaquin Valley Concentrates also planned to invest in its processing facilities, said Lampe. “We are building cold storage facilities and an applications laboratory to help customers use the product better. We’re also investing in additional drying equipment. “The first products are already on the market and some big names are interested.”
The products lent themselves to companies with global distribution chains, because of their high colour strength, long shelf-life and non-hygroscopic properties, said Lampe. “Our crystal colours are taking the limitations of liquid natural colours away. They are very easy to handle, do not require cold storage and therefore significantly reduce logistical costs.”
Lampe said the company would be drawing on other fruits and vegetables to create additional colours. Other colour options included orange and yellow, he said.