Chr. Hansen expands natural colors R&D capacity in Wisconsin

By Caroline Scott-Thomas

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Natural colors United states New product development

Chr. Hansen expands natural colors R&D capacity in Wisconsin
Chr. Hansen has expanded its applications laboratory and R&D staff at its Milwaukee, Wisconsin center to provide greater specialization in natural colors, the company has said.

The Denmark-headquartered company said the decision to expand its Wisconsin center was based on continued strong demand for natural colors in the US, and its intention to be “the go-to center for advice and accurate information for switching to natural colors in the prepared foods category.”

The United States is the world’s largest market for food colorings, according to Leatherhead Food International, and natural colors are in higher demand in the US than elsewhere. According to the market researcher’s latest figures, natural colors accounted for 57% of domestic colorings usage in 2009, compared to 36% globally.

”The health and wellness platform is driving healthier eating habits and thus the growth in natural colors,”​ said senior vice president of Chr. Hansen Inc., Kurt Seagrist.

The expansion will create a new ‘Global Expertise Center’ in the United States, adding a third such center for the company, together with its Hoersholm, Denmark center, which focuses on natural colors for confectionery and ice cream, and its Montpellier, France center, which specializes in natural colors for beverages, dairy, fruit preparations and phytonutrients. At the new center, natural color specialists will work with companies to solve technical issues, Chr. Hansen said.

Although recent European legislation requiring labeling of synthetic colors was driving companies to switch to natural colors in Europe, Seagrist said consumer demand was the main driver for reformulation in the United States.

“While Chr. Hansen does not foresee food legislation changing in the near future, continued consumer interest is driving new product development with US food companies to use natural colors,”​ he said.

Business development director for prepared foods at Chr. Hansen and head of the new center, Peter Gower, said that product launches using natural colors had increased in bakery, seasonings and ready-to-eat meals in particular during the first half of the year.

“This indicates a desire to convert to natural colors in the prepared foods category,”​ he said.

Natural colors were worth $230m of the United States’ $405m total colors market in 2009, and Leatherhead predicts that the US market for natural colors will grow to about $265m by 2012.The global market for food colorings stood at $1.45bn in 2009, up 16% from 1.25bn in 2005.

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