Natural colors will see 'upsurge' in sales and market share in 2016, Future Marketing Insights predicts

By Elizabeth Crawford contact

- Last updated on GMT

Source: iStock
Source: iStock

Related tags: Natural colors, Marketing

Lingering consumer health concerns about artificial dyes combined with a more general demand for “clean labels” is contributing to an “upsurge” in the natural colors market that has ingredient suppliers “scouring for cost-effective sources to offer end-products at competitive prices,” according to new research from Future Marketing Insights. 

The market intelligence firm predicts the global natural colors market will see a sizable jump in sales in 2016 compared to the previous year followed by a slightly lower, but longer-lasting growth over the next decade.

In particular, it forecasts the global natural colors market will grow 6.8% to reach $1.3 billion in 2016 before slowing slightly to a sustained compound annual growth rate of 5.4% through 2026, which will bring category revenues up to $2.2 billion.

The expected annual growth for natural colors through 2026 is even higher at 5.9% in North America, which is one of the largest players in the space, accounting for 30% of the global natural color market.  If achieved, this would drive up the market value for natural colors to $636 million in the region, according to Future Marketing Insights.

While price may play a part in rising revenues, market share also is predicted to increase from 55% to more than 60% of the overall food color market by 2026, it adds.

Spirulina benefits the most

The biggest winner in terms of growth from this increase demand for natural colors likely will be spirulina extract, which Future Marketing Insights predicts will see an 11% increase in overall revenues in 2016.

The algae is the base for many natural blues and greens, which are some of the most difficult colors to replicate naturally in foods because they often turn out muddy or impart a strong, bitter flavor that is difficult to mask, according to WILD Flavors and Specialty Ingredients​, which launched a solution to this problem in late 2015. 

While this growth is notable, so is the small base from which spirulina is starting. Future Marketing Institutes in 2015 estimated the ingredient’s share at 2% of all natural colors in 2015 – half that of chlorophyll.

For additional context, carotenoids account for more than 30% of the total North American natural food color market, the firm noted. 

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