The new technological platform is free of all palm-derived components, not just the active pigment. Extensive stability tests also showed that the palm-free colors are resistant to color degradation, making them suitable for all food and beverage applications. From a coloring perspective, palm-free formulations do not differ in shade or appearance.
Historically, Sensient used palm oil in its colors as a carrier and emulsifier because of its low oxidation and high stability properties, Steve Morris, general manager of U.S. food colors for Sensient Colors, told FoodNavigator-USA in an email.
But as demand for palm oil has grown over the past 20 years because of its low cost and stability, the subsequent rapid expansion of palm oil plantations has raised concerns regarding deforestation and wildlife habitat preservation and raised pressure on manufacturers to find alternatives.
“Once the palm oil was removed, it was replaced with palm-free emulsifiers, oils and dilutants and tested for stability and shade. Through this palm-free technology platform we found that some new palm-free colorants had even better stability,” Morris added.
Sensient declined to disclose specific examples of the palm oil replacements.
Sensient Colors is a business unit of Sensient Technologies Corp., St. Louis, MO.