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Colarome’s plant-derived colors come to the States

By Caroline Scott-Thomas , 10-Dec-2009
Last updated the 10-Dec-2009 at 16:46 GMT

Canadian natural ingredients company Colarome has joined with Food Ingredients Solutions for distribution of its Vivapigments natural color range in the United States.

Natural colors have grown in popularity across the globe, particularly after a 2007 study published in The Lancet linked six artificial colors to hyperactivity in children. Despite widespread acknowledgement that the study had some flaws – including the fact that children consumed a cocktail of colors, making it impossible to pinpoint the effect of any one color – it caused global concern about the safety of artificial colors, and led many manufacturers to reformulate with natural alternatives.

Colarome launched its natural, plant-derived color range in Canada this August, and while the company’s president Robin Côté hopes the partnership with Food Ingredients Solutions will develop a strong customer base for Vivapigments in the US, he said he sees even wider potential.

Côté told FoodNavigator-USA.com: “Natural colors are expanding more and more…The market is very important in the United States and Canada – and Europe as well. We would like to have a similar agreement with a strategic partner in Europe.”

He said the company is still looking for such a partner.

Colarome has been working with US-based Food Ingredients Solutions for a number of years for distribution of other ingredients in its portfolio, Côté added.

The Vivapigments plant-derived colors range from tan through browns, reds, yellows, oranges, greens and blues to purple, and are suitable for use in confectionery products, baked goods, and in food product coatings.

In terms of introducing them into food products in the US, Côté said: “All the ingredients that are in the product have food grade recognition, so there weren’t any regulatory issues.”

Food companies’ swift transition away from artificial colors saw ingredients makers rapidly develop natural color lines to answer demand, but finding alternatives for some colors has been problematic. The inability to source a natural blue coloring, for example, meant that when Nestlé vowed to rid its Smarties sugar-coated chocolate candy of artificial colors in 2006, it had to replace blue with white until 2008 when it started using a spirulina-derived natural blue.

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