New blue: FDA approves Sensient’s natural color made from butterfly pea flower
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved butterfly pea flower extract as a color additive in response to a petition by Sensient’s Color Group. The “exceptionally heat stable,” water-soluble ingredient produces shades ranging from bright blues and intense purples to natural greens, depending on the product pH, according to the manufacturer.
According to Sensient’s petition, it developed the color additive by combining demineralized water with pesticide-free dried butterfly pea flower petals, running it through an ultrafiltration process and concentrating and pasteurizing the liquid. The resulting extract is 42% to 62% water, with anthocyanins as the main coloring component.
The ingredients industry has long been challenged to develop a natural blue coloring for food. The quest has been stymied by ensuring the stability and vibrancy in products that may be exposed to a range of conditions and shelf-life requirements. That said, the pace of innovation has picked up, with Sensient’s butterfly pea flower extract just the latest in a series of promising natural blue colors that includes Spirulina.
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