The world's largest caramel color manufacturer DD Williamson has developed a new line of organic caramel colours, which the company claims are the first to be manufactured in North America.
The US firm said it developed the products in response to demand from food manufacturers, who are increasingly churning out healthier product alternatives in light of recent consumer trends.
"Food and beverage processors are requesting organic ingredients to meet the growing consumer demand for organic products," said the company's vice president Owen Parker. "We were able to develop one organic color with stability in low pH to enhance visual appeal in many types of beverages."
The new organic products, sucrose-based Caramel Color and Caramelized Rice Syrup, were designed for use in organic food and beverage applications, including soups, gravies and sauces.
Classified as class 1 caramels, meaning they contain no sulphur or ammonium compounds and are therefore lighter in colour, they have similar properties to burnt sugars, said Parker.
"The rice-based product has a particular advantage in that rice is generally a low allergen, so it can be used in applications where high allergen ingredients are avoided," Parker told FoodNavigator-USA.com.
The new products carry the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Organic seal as well as the Quality Assurance International (QAI) mark, which confirms that the ingredients have been derived from natural sources.
Organic products continue to enjoy increasing popularity in the US. According to the nation's Organic Trade Association, sales of organic foods and beverages are growing by almost 20 percent annually, with the organic market currently valued at $10 billion.
With the rising power and ongoing growth of the multiple global retailers putting constant pressure on ingredients companies to keep up with the pace, deliver products at competitive prices and guarantee supplies, DD Williamson has recently driven further into the profitable natural colors market.
In recent months the company announced its acquisition of the natural colors business of Artemis International in order to meet growing customer demand.
Earlier this year, the firm also expanded its liquid caramel product line into the Asian market, extending its production facilities in China to manufacture the additional products.
At the beginning of last year the US caramel leader bought Cargill's Cerestar caramel colour facilities in the UK. Under terms of the agreement DD Williamson sources glucose syrup via a pipeline from Cargill's Cerestar starch refinery in Manchester to manufacture 'a broader line of caramel color and burnt sugar products for global markets'.