New Natural Coral Shades for High-Acid Beverage Formulations

BOLD COLOR Brings Flavor to Life

Innova data indicates that, when buying beverages, consumers around the world are 54% more likely to prefer stronger flavors to milder ones. Over half of US consumers choose juice drinks for their taste and flavor, the top reason according to 2022 Innova Research.

This data also confirms Sensient’s consumer research findings that consumers prefer deep, intense, colorful beverages over colorless alternatives.

In order to support bold flavors and stand out on shelves, beverage manufacturers can leverage eye-catching colors.

sensient blog july coral

Color can improve flavor perception scores by an average 15% across categories.

Sensient’s 2019 Value of Color study

For flavor-seeking shoppers:

Color is the first indication they have of the product and its taste.

In an increasingly crowded beverage aisle:

Unique shades
can highlight new or unusual flavor profiles.

Tropical on Trend

Bright tropical hues from natural sources are trending and spanning across beverage categories from juices, energy drinks, sparkling waters, hard seltzers, and fruit flavored hydration beverages. Shades that fall “in-between” traditional colors stand out to bring refreshing profiles like guava, dragonfruit, and watermelon to life.


Coral is a bright hue that hovers between orange and pink, pairing well with trending blended flavor combinations.

From peach-passion fruit to grapefruit-coconut, coral lends itself well to bright, delicious flavor opportunities.

  • sensient blog july coral
  • sensient blog july coral
  • sensient blog july coral
  • sensient blog july coral
  • sensient blog july coral
  • sensient blog july coral

Creating Coral in Acidic Beverages

Since less than a quarter of beverages launched in the US in the past five years use food coloring
(Innova 2022)

A Bright Coral Shade is sure to Stand Out and Grab Shopper

However, other aspects of the beverage formula need to be considered to avoid unwanted ingredient interaction. Many beverage products use combinations of citric, ascorbic, malic, and/or phosphoric acid to achieve the final formulation, but this can have unintended consequences on other ingredients like natural colors. Beverages with a high acid content can include sports drinks, juices, flavored waters, fortified or functional beverages, carbonated soft drinks, hard and soft seltzers, and more.

sensient blog july coral
sensient blog july coral

Pink & Red? Yes, but…Not Quite Coral

Anthocyanins like black carrot can be cost-effective in many highly acidic beverage applications and are extremely stable in low-pH ranges.

Purple sweet potato is popular for its hot pink shade, and classic reds can be achieved with various black carrot or red radish solutions.

However, they don’t necessarily achieve a “coral” target hue desired by developers, remaining largely in the red and pink range without any yellow or orange notes. They also require an additional cloud component if an opaque appearance is desired, such as for juice applications or those wanting to convey a “better-for-you” visual often associated with cloudy juices.


Sensient’s Watermelon-Rose offers developers a unique shade in a single ingredient color component for simple, clean-label formulation of coral in beverage applications. This heat-stable lycopene-based solution is naturally cloudy, so no additional cloud component is needed. While anthocyanins might be sensitive to high levels of ascorbic acid in a formula, causing them to fade or underperform, Watermelon-Rose remains stable.

sensient blog july coral
sensient blog july coral

Beta Carotene

Beta Carotene solutions may also be used in beverage applications to achieve shades in the coral range. Some Beta Carotenes have an inherent cloud, supporting cost-effective and simplified single-ingredient formulation from a color perspective. These solutions will be especially effective if a developer is seeking a coral hue closer to the orange side versus a brighter pink like that of Watermelon-Rose.

My team and I love to talk color!

To sample any of these solutions, start a request and our team will get that on its way! If you still have questions or aren’t sure which solution is right for your next project, request a custom consultation.

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