A blue colorant developed by ColorMaker in partnership with D.D. Williamson is designed to provide a shelf-stable natural blue hue at a low pH for increased flexibility.
Food manufacturers have displayed strong efforts to produce natural additives and there have been indications that blue has posed a particular problem in colorants.
ColorMaker's answer is a water-soluble blue colorant is derived from anthocyanins extracted from red cabbage. Anthocyanins exhibit diverse color qualities in products at different pH levels. At around pH 3, they exhibit a red color, but at a higher pH, the anthocyanin may be green or blue.
This therefore restricts the products a blue colorant can be used in. D.D. Williamson and ColorMaker claim their new colorant can be used in foods and drinks with a wider range of acidity levels than with conventional anthocyanins.
The companies claim their new product exhibits a shelf-stable blue hue at pH 5.5 to 8, whereas anthocyanins normally demonstrate a faded and unstable purple hue at pH 5.5
Natural colors demand
Both consumers and manufacturers have created a demand for natural colorant alternatives to artificial colors due to health concerns and a growing trend for natural.
For example, a UK study conducted at Southampton University and published in The Lancet last September concluded that cocktails of food colorings commonly used in confectionery and beverages, and sodium benzoate, can aggravate hyperactivity in children.
Natural colors are exempt from the certification process in the US, but still undergo safety reviews by the FDA.
ColorMaker has been awarded US Patent No. 7279189 for distribution by its partner, caramel color producer D.D. Williamson, which has a strong position in the colorings market.
It is available in either liquid or powdered form and is made up of red cabbage liquid, aluminium sulfate and sodium bicarbonate.
ColorMaker has also developed naturally derived, water-soluble green colorants by adding a variety of yellow colorants to its natural blue colorant.
The two companies claim to offer natural food colorants standardized for strength, stabilized for safety, and validated for quality that improve the allure of foods and beverages through visual appeal. D.D. Williamson is the exclusive global distributor of ColorMaker's natural color blends.
No one from the company was available in time for publication to comment on whether this colorant will be available globally.
However, just last week, Nestle Rowntree was able to bring back its blue Smartie chocolate after two years of searching for a natural blue colorant.
The company had promised to rid all its confections of artificial colorings in the summer of 2005. Its new coloring solution was found in Spirulina, which is produced from two species of cyanobacteria (blue-green lake algae).