Lycored tested Resolute Ruby and Constant Crimson versus Red 3 (Erythrosine) during and after UHT (ultra high temperature) processing in a strawberry flavored milk drink and then conducted accelerated shelf life tests to evaluate their stability when exposed to light, dark and ambient conditions, simulating real-life storage, transportation and retail environments.
The natural reds outperformed the artificial color across all tests, and offer a more robust alternative to sensitive natural colors such as beetroot and anthocyanins, and carmine, which is not vegetarian-friendly (it's made from crushed cochineal insects), said business unit head for colorants and real food ingredients Tammi Higgins.
“Manufacturers of UHT dairy products have historically been reluctant to switch to natural colors owing to concerns about their ability to withstand the UHT process and remain stable throughout the product’s shelf life at ambient conditions, but the trial proved that Resolute Ruby and Constant Crimson can withstand even the most demanding processing and storage conditions."
'Far reaching and exciting implications'
She added: "They are more robust, have a longer shelf life and offer more packaging, display and storage flexibility than their artificial counterparts. This has far-reaching and exciting implications for manufacturers of UHT milk products who may have been deterred from switching from artificial to natural colors due to quality and stability concerns."
Consumers are also looking for more ‘natural’ looking colors and wary of lurid or neon-type shades, which look ‘artificial," added Higgins.
"We did tests with gummy candies with mothers and children, and with mothers and UHT milk, and mothers are gravitating towards more muted or true to fruit shades.”
No ringing or sedimentation from beta-carotene in beverages
She added: “We’ve also done performance studies in cheese comparing our yellow and orange shades from beta carotene [which Lycored produces from the Blakeslea trispora fungus via fermentation] and we hold up very nicely from a shelf life perspective and from a processing perspective against annatto [another natural source of yellow and orange shades].
“We also perform well against turmeric [another popular source of natural yellow/orange shades] in beverages, where heat and light can be an issue. Our beta carotene also holds up very nicely versus other carotenoids in beverages when it comes to ringing [unsightly colored rings at the bottom of the bottle] and sedimentation [sediment at the bottom of the bottle]. Our products perform without any ringing or sedimentation throughout the shelf life.”
Visit Lycored at booth #801 at the IFT show in New Orleans June 2-6 and read more about the UHT milk tests HERE.