Color Your Cereal Naturally

September 2016

Success Stories
Igniting the natural color torch for cereal manufacturers around the world, General Mills has carried out their
commitment to the removal of artificial colors from their cereal lines, recently stating 90% have been successfully converted to natural colors, including Golden Grahams, Trix, and Reese’s Puffs. You can find a complete list of the other lines here. During the Trix formulation, GMI did express some of the challenges when working with natural colors, specifically natural blue and green, which they have completely removed.

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Two GMI cereal lines that have yet to be converted due to technical challenges are Lucky Charms and Monsters. While these two conversions may take a little longer, GMI says they remain dedicated to the task. In one article about the Reese’s Puff’s conversion, Lauren Pradhan, Senior Marketing Manager for Wellness Strategy in the cereal division reassures the consumers about all of the changes, saying “This is about removing barriers to cereal…People have told us they don’t want dyes in their cereal…It was just all hands on deck, and the team has done an incredible job of saying ‘We’re going to make this happen.’”

ALDI is another big contender in the cereal industry who has removed all artificial colors from their cereals, started by their 2015 “Food You Can Feel Good About” public campaign. Their Millville lines and Fit & Active cereals contain no artificial colors or flavors. Registered dietician, author, and Aldi advisory council member, Sally Kuzemchak, said “I’m happy that ALDI is listening to people’s concerns about synthetic dyes and eliminating them in all of their products.” It seems both GMI and ALDI attribute their natural color conversion out of necessity to strengthen their ongoing relationship with consumers of today’s world and pioneer the quickly-evolved clean label revolution in the food industry.

Consumer Insights
At Sensient, consumer insights also help us identify and prioritize research and development initiatives, so we can anticipate and meet the needs of our customers, too. Recently, we concluded a national survey to examine consumer purchase interest for brands that switched to natural colors. Here are the results…

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We think the 63% number is so large due to the frequent public announcements about natural color conversions from companies like GMI and ALDI – these big conversions increase consumer interest and awareness of food ingredients. GMI credits their spike in retail sales to their natural color conversion, saying it also encouraged consumers to buy cereal again. Additionally, ALDI, as part of their Accelerated Growth Strategy, continues to expand from coast-to-coast with recent openings of 45 new stores in the Southern California area alone. This expansion is a key step in their strategic plan; they expect to operate nearly 2000 stores nationwide by the end of 2018, which would be a 25% boost from 2015. The positive consumer feedback from Aldi’s better-for-you offerings of natural and organic products is certainly a contributing factor to the grocer’s development.

Natural Color Innovation
As GMI and ALDI continue to lead the natural color conversion in cereals, it will be interesting to see where the torch is passed from here. More private labels? Or big brands? In the meantime, Sensient’s commitment to researching and developing color solutions for extruded cereals has only become brighter. Just recently, Sensient launched a new all-natural, heat stable red from a vegetable juice. We are calling it SupraRedTM. The solution’s name alludes to its super strength and endurance to survive heat temperatures, like those associated with cereal extrusion, while delivering broad ranges of bold and vivid shades of red. Available in powder and liquid forms, SupraRedTM can help cereal developers attain shades from pastel strawberry pinks to vibrant cherry reds. Compared to a natural beet or pH-stabilized anthocyanin option, the intensity of SupraRedTM can be achieved at much lower usage rates. The novel technology is also free of chemical solvents, relieving developers from any problems associated with flavor off-notes, browning and discoloration or end-product texture issues. Dependent on target shade, standard usage rates for extruded cereal using SupraRed ranges from 0.5%-1.5%.

While SupraRedTM is our newest natural color innovation, Sensient does offer excellent options for all colors of the rainbow for your cereal conversion…

If you would like to try any of these Natural Color solutions, you can request a sample here.

Or if you would like to request a consultation to discuss a current or upcoming project, please feel free to reach out to me.

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