Natural Food Colors for Baked Snacks
Baked snacks are innovating with natural colors and clean ingredient lists.
Consumers continue to strive for wellness in all aspects of their lives, from mental wellbeing to physical health. “Healthy snacks” can mean something different for everyone, but one common theme is a desire for natural or clean ingredients.
A snack having “real” or “natural” ingredients is the most important claim consumers seek when making purchasing decisions globally.
North Americans have a stronger preference for claims of “no artificial flavors or colors” than consumers in other regions around the world.
Developers have several key technical considerations for baked snack food coloring
For developers tasked with searching out food color for “healthy” baked snacks, or natural colors for snacks in general, there are three main factors to keep in mind:
Most baked snacks are relatively neutral in terms of acidity, so those colors that thrive in lower pH ranges may perform differently than expected. For example, many anthocyanins that are known for their bright red or pink hues in sports drinks may offer more muted purples or blues in baked snacks.
For those snacks without fully opaque or windowless packaging, light stability needs to be considered. Most natural colors are light-stable, but if your packaging is transparent or has a clear window, color experts can recommend only light-stable solutions to ensure on-shelf satisfaction.
Because color will be added to baked snacks before they undergo the heat processing inherent in baking, any colors added need to be heat-stable. Some natural colors thrive under heat processing, like turmeric, while others risk fading under hotter or longer baking times.
Nature’s rainbow offers baked snack developers opportunities across the whole shade spectrum of food color for spicy, savory, or healthy baked snacks. From warm reds and browns to bright yellows and oranges to unique blues, purples, blacks, and greens, natural solutions are available.
Color can be used to highlight unique flavors.
Whether you are extending your main lineup with in-box savory shades or creating buzzworthy LTOs, color is an important decision in the formulation process.
Research shows that color and flavor work hand-in-hand, with color impacting flavor perception up to 15% across categories.
Sensient Consumer Research 2019
Flavor is the #1 influence on consumer purchasing decisions of snacks both in North America and globally, according to Innova’s 2022 Category Survey. The same survey reported that a third of those who have increased their snack consumption did so because of increased variety and novelty in the category. Capturing consumer interest and shopping cart sales with delicious, unique flavors can be a major driver for commercial success.
41% of North American consumers want savory snacks with strong, intense flavors.
Differentiating visually between flavors, particularly in the spicy space, can help drive interest for consumers.
The electric orange-red of a Ghost Pepper is unique from the darker red of a Carolina Reaper, and color can be used to highlight that difference to draw eyes in the aisle.
In order to bring those strong, intense flavors to life, consider the natural colors for baked snacks below and click the image to request a sample for your next project:
Still unsure? Our team of color experts is here to help you find the right solution for your project. Reach out to get quick answers to your questions and get your baked snack timeline on track!
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