Optimized Spirulina Extract for Ice Cream Bases

The hunt for a natural blue or green color for ice cream is finally over.

Optimized spirulina extract for ice cream bases is here, and it looks delicious. There are already natural colors out there that create a vibrant denim color, but now you can also achieve different shades (like bright sky blue or mint green) with Sensient’s optimized spirulina extract.

Request a sample for your ice cream-based product

vibrant blue natural food color
natural food color for frozen treats

Why is this such a big deal?

Because blues are limited in nature. The blues, greens and purple shades that we do have are mostly anthocyanins, which typically aren’t stable at a neutral pH. This means it can be difficult to achieve sky blue and turquoise shades.

Demand for ice cream and frozen treats skyrocketed during COVID, and, according to Mintel, that large increase seems to have stuck and will continue into 2023 and likely the next few years.

Total US retail sales and forecast of ice cream and frozen novelties, at current
prices, 2016-26:

food color for sales trends in frozen treats

Specifically, since 2019, snacking motivations related to treating oneself, boredom and stress relief have become more prominent. The answer to stress and boredom for many consumers seems to be indulgent treats.

  • 77% of US adults agree enjoying indulgent food with others is a great way to spend time
  • 54% of US adults agree there is nothing wrong with eating indulgent food
  • 44% of US diners are encouraged to try new flavors by the appearance (e.g.,vibrant colors) of the food
  • “Chunky” as a texture grew by 90% across all food and beverage launches between 2017-2021
natural green food color for frozen foods
However, companies that prefer to use only natural ingredients haven’t always had a great option to replace Blue 1. And as many brands recognize, natural ingredients are in increasingly high demand.
spirulina food colors for frozen foods

The biggest problem developers must overcome while optimizing spirulina for ice cream bases is usage rate.

Natural colors typically require much higher usage rates than synthetic colors because the botanical sources are not as concentrated as specially formulated FD&C colorants, and high usage rates risk the taste of spirulina imparting off-notes.

Sensient’s innovation team has cracked the code. Our optimized spirulina extract offers lower usage rates in order to avoid any unwanted flavors but still provides a beautiful blue color. Blends with natural reds and yellows enable bright purples and greens.

Spirulina as a natural blue for many dairy applications has been a challenge because spirulina is not water-stable, so it would fade out in liquid applications. However, since ice cream is frozen, the chemical reaction is slowed, and the color remains stable.

A unique, cost-effective spirulina solution.

Sensient’s optimized spirulina extract is not only a unique natural product, but it’s also cost-effective due to supply chain efficiencies and optimizations that enable lower usage rates in end products.

Request a sample

natural food color for ice cream

It can be used for all kinds of cool flavors – check out these concepts!

  • natural food color for mint ice cream

    Simple Mint Chip
    (or Mint Cookies and Cream)

  • natural food color for pistachio baklava

    Pistachio Baklava

  • natural food color for apple pie ice cream

    Apple Pie with
    Caramel Swirl

  • natural food color for berry sherbet

    Very Berry Sherbet

  • natural food color for vegan ice cream

    Vegan Blue Moon

  • natural food color for lavender ice cream

    Lavender Honey

Anything is possible with Sensient’s new optimized spirulina for ice cream bases.

My team and I can’t wait to see what you come up with: request a sample to get started today! If you need more information before you’re ready to get to the bench, reach out to me with any questions.

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