2016 Food Color Trends

Cleaner, Simpler Ingredients
As IFT attendees witnessed in Chicago, the overarching trend on display was the move to cleaner, simpler ingredients. Some of the notable ingredient trends were:

  • Plant protein and especially pea protein becoming more mainstream
  • Fermented foods with better health profiles and unique taste sensations
  • Growth of organics, which is partly linked to cleaner ingredients and especially consumer desire for GMO-free products
  • ‘Cold-Pressed’ or high-pressure processing for juice, milk, and coffees that may be perceived as more naturally processed
  • Sugar reduction

I am interested to see which trend will still be front and center next year, but I am certain the pursuit of simple, clean ingredients and increased transparency will be the major theme.

Jell-O Announces a New Cleaner Label Jell-O Line
On the food color front, the pace of change has increased from where it has been the last couple of years. In July, Kraft-Heinz announced their plan to replace the high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) in their gelatin snacks with fruit juice. More specifically for color, they announced “a new line of JELL-O mixes that have no artificial flavors, dyes or preservatives will be coming soon” while correctly noting studies on the safety of synthetic colors.

Because natural color conversions typically are successful when brands are careful not to sacrifice on shade vibrancy, the process often takes time to get right.

Kraft’s new line shouldn’t come as a surprise given their recent success converting Macaroni & Cheese to natural colors. According to tracked IRI data, the brand has grown about 4% more in the last twelve weeks compared to their 5% decline prior to their natural color conversion last year.


Emerging Color Industry Trends
Here are also four specific shifts in the food color industry:

  1. A move away from caramel color – It was early last year that Nestle announced they were not only removing all artificial colors and flavors but also pursuing the removal of caramel colors. These days, we regularly receive inquiries about our natural brown options, and I don’t see that slowing down at all. In fact, we continue our efforts in developing innovative caramel replacement options.
  2. More food safety questions – The combination of high profile food safety scares for some brands and the inherently higher risks of natural colors have prompted manufacturers’ demands for more supply chain transparency. This is one area where I am glad to see the increased scrutiny; our Certasure™ program was created because of these shared concerns.
  3. Titanium dioxide alternatives – Globally, titanium dioxide faces some criticism. Recently, the French advocacy group Agir pour powderL’Environnement claimed undeclared nanoparticles were found in four different food products during testing. Last year, Dunkin’ Donuts removed TiO2 from their donuts after receiving pressure from the advocacy group As You Sow. Some food manufacturers are likely to remove titanium as part of their natural color reformulations. For our part, we continue to develop new solutions in addition to our Avalanche™ opacity agent.
  4. Increased interest in organic colors – The growth of organic food began in the dairy and produce aisles. With large retailers like Walmart and Kroger making organic products more mainstream across the store, we are seeing growing demand for organic colors. In part, this increase might be due to consumer concerns around GMOs, but whatever the cause, we expect more innovation around organics in the years to come.

It is an interesting time for the food color business. Continuous change seems to be the norm, and while it can be challenging to stay updated, we are committed to just that.

Related Posts

Starbucks Continues to Leverage the Photogenic Food Trend with Tie Dye Frappuccino Launch

Have You Ever Seen A Clear Raspberry?

Petco to Stop Selling Pet Food With Artificial Colors, Flavors, and Preservatives

France Poised to Ban Titanium Dioxide

Skittles Internet Debate: Do All Colors Taste the Same?

Wine Gets the Blues

The Power of Color in Dairy Product Development

Is Glow-in-the-Dark the Next Food Trend? Meet the GLO-NUT

The Important Role of Color in the Push to All-Natural Confections

Kraft Heinz Cooking Up Cleaner Cheesy Snack Labels

Mothers Know Best: How Moms are Influencing the Food and Beverage Industry

How Big Food is Taking on a World of Picky Eaters

Kraft Heinz Doubles Oscar Mayer’s Marketing Budget to Promote Natural Ingredients

The Magically Colorful Unicorn Trend

A Colorful Twist on a Sweet & Salty Snack

Natural Color Portfolio Expands for Snacks

Food Color Effect on Older Consumers

Dunkin’ Donuts and Baskin-Robbins Removing Artificial Colors by End of 2018

Food Color is as Important as Taste

France Permits the Use of Coloring Foods in Beer

Out of the Way, Rainbow Bagels — Unicorn Latte Health Elixirs Are Here

Myth or Fact? Artificially-Colored Foods Are Bad for You

Further Concerns Over the Safety of Titanium Dioxide

Health Canada Proposes Changes for Amaranth’s Permitted Usage Level

Panera is 100% Additive-Free

Formulators Taking Solution-Approach to Natural

Consumers Emphasizing Ingredients on Food Labels

Color Empowers Consumer Social Sharing

#TBT A Look Back at the Co-Creation of the Food Coloring Business

8 Foods You Would Never Guess Were Artificially Colored

Feeling Cold? Warm-Up with this New Bright Blue Tea from Japan

Food Fun: Colorful 3-D Gingerbread Creations

Color of Food Guides our Brains

Naturally Coloring the Beverage Industry

Are Autumn Leaves the Next Source of Natural Color?

Food Colors Market to Reach $3.75 Billion by 2022

Spirulina Algae: Next Natural Food Trend

A Fiesta of Natural Colors in Tequila

Why Foods That Are Blue Are Perceived As Less Natural

Quest for a True Blue M&M

Big Brands Clean Up Portfolios for Consumers

Natural Colors Linked to Positive Health Effects

Many Food Companies are Cooking Up New Natural Recipes

European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) Continues Research on the Safety of Titanium Dioxide

Ingredients in Sports Drinks: Natural Colors

Starbucks Removes Caramel Coloring from Infamous Pumpkin Spice Latte

Peace, Love and Cake

A Deep Look into Spirulina: an Emerging and Popular Natural Color Source

Cakes Are Getting Colorful

Rainbow Lattes are the Latest Thing in Coffee Art

Tastefully Terrifying Halloween Red Velvet Croissants

GMI #RealTrixRabbit Campaign Promotes Removal of Artificial Colors

UK Testing Unexpected Ice Cream Colors

Does Mac&Cheese Lead the ‘Free-From’ Trend?

Why Wegmans Removed Artificial Colors in their Icings

Canada Campbell’s Listens to Changing Consumer Needs

GMI Still Seeking Natural Blue and Green Colors for Trix Cereal

UK Nestlé Cereals Reassure Consumers Wanting the Removal of Artificial Colours

Food Companies Are Not Phasing Out Artificial Colors Fast Enough for Some

Heinz Removing Artificial Colors from Pickles

Artificial Dyes Still Present in Many Kid-Friendly Products

Kraft Launching Jell-O Line Without Artificial Colors

McDonald’s Removing Artificial Colors from Iconic Chicken Nuggets

Sensient Colors: Heat Stable Natural Red

Natural Colors ‘Upsurge’ in 2016 Market Share

PepsiCo Launches “Stubborn Soda” Line with Natural Colors

Consumers Are Influenced by the Color of their Food

Color Me Natural: 2016 Confectionery Color Trends

Food Color Pops Up Where You Least Expect It

General Mills Working to Remove Artificial Colors from Lucky Charms’ Marshmallows