Stable Christmas Red and Green for Seasonal LTOs
The Role of Color in Seasonal Launches
The top three markets for Christmas or winter seasonal innovation in food and beverage the United States, the United Kingdom, and Germany, which combine for over 30% of new launches (Mintel 2022). Of these seasonal LTOs, over 40% are private label in the United States, up from just one in three two years ago (Mintel 2024).
Seasonal products typically rely on generating excitement and instant gratification from consumers rather than year-round product or brand loyalty. Color can help.
Color helps a product catch shoppers’ eyes and stand out on a shelf. Consumers are looking for a visual or flavor cue that an item is seasonal or holiday themed. At the end of the year, this often brings a focus to Christmas colors: red and green.
How to Use Color in Seasonal Launches
Christmas colors like red and green are important hallmarks of seasonal launches during the holidays. As with any product development project, there are a few things to keep in mind to ensure color success, particularly with bold shades like these.
Check out our recommendations to achieve bright reds and greens for holiday LTOs in different applications:
Bake/Heat Stability, Light Stability
Loaf Cakes, Cupcakes, Cookies
Heat Stability, Permissibility, pH, Kosher Status
Because other blue solutions like Huito and Spirulina are not permitted in baking applications, a blend of Butterfly Pea Flower Extract and a natural yellow such as Beta Carotene or Turmeric.
Boxed Cookie or Cake Mix
Heat Stability, Coloring the Powder Before Hydration, Permissibility, pH, Kosher Status
A blend of Butterfly Pea Flower Extract and a natural yellow such as Beta Carotene or Turmeric meets both regulatory and stability requirements for boxed baking mixes.
Icings, Frostings, Cremes, and Fillings
Light Stability, Avoiding Color Bleed, Phase Applicability
A blend of Spirulina Microfine™ and a natural yellow such as Riboflavin Microfine™ creates a light-stable green. If light exposure is not a concern, Turmeric Microfine™ can also be used in the blend for a bold green.
Using Blazing Red Microfine™ in icings and similar applications with water activity helps avoid color bleed while maintaining light stability.
Coatings, Morsels, and White Chocolate
Oil Applicability, Light Stability, pH Stability
Blazing Red Microfine™ addresses the challenge of a bold red with the needed oil applicability in applications like coatings and morsels without water activity. Standard Red Radish may also be used if the pH is not shifted too low due to the addition of an acidic flavor component.
Extrusion/Heat Stability, Color Strength
Extrusion Stability, Light Stability
Gummies and Gum Drops
pH, Water Activity, High Heat and Holding Time, Base Color
If using powder colors, it’s important to have enough water in the formula to fully solubilize the color. In higher water applications, Butterfly Pea Flower Extract or Marine Blue™ can be blended with Beta Carotene or Turmeric for bright greens.
In potentially acidic environments with high water activity, anthocyanins like Black Carrot, Red Radish, and Red Cabbage create great reds. If water activity is low and the pH is higher, in the 4.0-6.8 range, Beet is a good choice, but if high heat and/or a long holding time under heat are part of the process, Carmine is the best choice.
pH of Coating Syrup, Temperature of Coating Syrup, Holding Time of Coating Syrup, Heat Stability, Viscosity of Coating Syrup
If the production process allows for controlled panning to limit heat exposure, all Anthocyanins can be used for reds in conjunction with a yellow component like Beta Carotene or Turmeric. If the temperature or holding time is too high, Pure-S™ Red Radish and Carmine are excellent choices.
Hard Candy including Candy Canes
Light Stability, High Heat, pH Stability
Thanks to the similarities between hard and gummy confections, many of the same green solutions can be used. However it’s important to add the Spirulina component at the last possible step to avoid degradation.
Light Stability, Neutral pH, High Heat
Caramels and Nougats
Light Stability, Neutral pH, High Heat
These solutions can also be used for seasonal shades around other holidays as well: greens are sought out for St. Patrick’s Day, while reds come up throughout the year: Valentine’s Day, Independence Day, and even Thanksgiving. If you need color for a seasonal LTO, let us know! We’re here to help.