Unique Coral Hues from Highly Stable Watermelon-Rose™

Color Improves Drink Taste and Consumer Purchase Patterns

Don’t fall into the trap of a colorless industry standard: research shows that consumers want colorful drinks. Colorful beverages and food products scored +5% higher in purchase intent and +4% higher in overall consumer liking compared to their colorless counterparts.

Optimized color increased flavor perception +15% compared to colorless products or those that had the “wrong” color for the flavor.

Sensient Consumer Research 2019

Colorful beverages make up less than 20% of new launches today (Mintel 2023), but color helps beverages:


Stand out on crowded shelves


Amplify consumer flavor


Increase customer purchase intent

What can impact color in beverages?

Color can be affected by many potential factors, from packaging and processing parameters to potential ingredient interactions. There may also be external motivations for selecting certain colors, such as front-of-pack claims, shelf life, or ingredient statement goals.

Stability and performance are the top considerations of most developers when selecting colors to use in beverages.

While a wide rainbow exists on the market, there are several common challenging colors for beverage developers. Fortunately, Sensient’s robust R&D work and an extensive background of technical experience provide ample opportunity to tackle these challenges head-on.


Watermelon-Rose™ Adds a Standout Stable Shade

Watermelon-Rose™ provides a unique red hue with orange notes in both low and high pH beverage systems. In clear beverages, Watermelon-Rose™ provides cloudiness helping to simplify the beverage formulation, so there is no need to add any additional opacifying agent.


In acidic systems where the pH is less than 4.0, our go-to natural color solutions are typically anthocyanin-based colors. However, in the presence of Vitamin C, anthocyanins will oxidize, and the color will shift and potentially fade. This solution is carotenoid-based and will remain stable in the presence of Vitamin C with improved overall performance in applications like sports drinks, energy drinks, fortified waters, and other enhanced beverages. Beta carotene colors may have similar stability performance in beverage applications but are not able to match the unique coral hue.

Watermelon-Rose™ has also shown improved heat stability in UHT specifically for dairy applications, making it an excellent option to replace FD&C Red 3 in strawberry milk or flavored coffee creamers.

This improved stability is necessary due to the pH and heat processing of dairy and plant-based milk applications. Anthocyanin-based colors, commonly used for pink and red hues in beverages, are pH dependent and show decreased stability in systems where the pH is above 4.0. Beet-based colors thrive in neutral pH applications, but beet is sensitive to heat and color fading is evident after heat processing. Watermelon-Rose™ is both pH-stable across pH 2.5-7.0 as well as heat stable and is successfully used in UHT dairy-based applications.

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