“Everybody is looking for new ways to make their product standout and feel more natural,” and WILD is helping them in part by offering more “varietal flavors,” that directly “speak to consumers wanting the almost farm to table feeling in the new products,” said Lesley Nicholson, a project manager at ADM, which acquired WILD last fall.
She explained at SupplySide West in Las Vegas in mid-October that WILD now offers flavors that taste like specific varietals of fruit, such as Bartlett pears, Marion blackberries and Red Delicious apples.
These more sophisticated flavors “seem more transparent” than general fruit flavors, like pear, berry and apple, and “they help the consumer feel like this is something that I recognize and understand and is not just a bunch of chemicals,” Nicholson said.
Natural blues, greens available
WILD also showcased at SupplySide its line of natural colors, which includes a vibrant, clear green and blue – two colors that historically are very difficult to make naturally or when they were would come out muddy because of restricted source ingredients, she said.
“Blue is the most difficult color to make naturally and from there we were able to make green, which is also very, very tricky to make naturally,” because most sources of green have strong flavors or bitter notes that are difficult to mask, she said.
Nicholson acknowledged that while the natural colors are vibrant, they are not a bright as conventional colors, nor are they as easy to formulate with or as affordable.
“The whole industry and the whole consumer base is going to have to accommodate a little bit … as you cannot achieve the same hues with natural – there is no mistaking that fact. However, you can come very, very close,” as these colors do, she said.
She added making the adjustment and paying the premium price for natural also is worth it for some manufacturers because the consumer movement toward more natural products is not going away – rather it is growing.
“We were talking about natural colors and flavors 10 to15 years ago, and it hasn’t gone away – rather it is increasing and it is expanding to things like pantry labeling, so wanting only things you would get from your pantry and recognize,” she said.
Other health, wellness ingredients available
Following this same thought-process consumers are seeking other more natural health and wellness ingredients, which ADM can also provide, Nicholson said.
Specifically, at the show the firm highlighted its natural vitamin E, which is non-GMO and made from sunflower oil as opposed to many synthetic vitamin E products that are petroleum based, she said. In addition, she noted the firm offers many natural antioxidant blends to give products an added health boost that consumers seek.