Sourced from fruit and vegetables the new ColorFruit line, E163 under EU regulations, is a blend of anthocyanins developed to obtain four shades from red to violet and purple.
The leading player, Chr Hansen is looking to increase its 23 per cent global share of the natural colours market.
As the functional food trend continues to soar, food and beverage manufacturers are increasingly on the hunt for natural colours - fuelling growth in the colouring foodstuffs market and outstripping the base line growth of the European colours market in general, valued at €195 million in 2001.
Frost and Sullivan analyst Lyndsey Greig said recently that the natural colouring market is currently experiencing year on year growth of an estimated 10 per cent to 15 per cent. This figure compares to only 1 per cent compound annual growth rate estimated for synthetic colours between 2001-2008.
More expensive than their synthetic equivalents, making the switch to natural automatically leads to an increase in formulation costs for the manufacturer.
"But the manufacturers are ready to pay for the switch, more and more companies are opting for natural colours," Luc Ganivet, marketing manager at Chr Hansen France said to FoodNavigator.com.
Faced with the aggressive context of a beverage - light and ascorbic acid - both natural and synthetic colours are vulnerable to destruction. Ganivet stressed that the new ColorFruit range was developed to target stability for these natural colours that are faced with water, light and ascorbic acid in beverages.
"The focus was given to beverage medium (low pH), ascorbic acid (300ppm) and light stability, these products also have very good heat stability," added Ganivet.
The range, available worldwide and produced at a plant in Avedore, Denmark, can also be used in fruit preparations and confectionery.
In June this year the Danish ingredients firm reported that its bottom line had benefited from the growing demand for natural colours when higher sales in this sector helped to lift sales figures by 3.5 per cent from DK848 million (€114m) in the 02/03 third quarter to DK878 million (€118m) this year.