High-Performing Color Ingredients for Simplified, Cost-Effective Formulation

red gummy candy and purple beetsColor Innovation for Fruit Snack, Gummy Developers

For developers working on gummy confection or fruit snack projects, the best color solutions needed to fill a robust toolbox are performance-optimized to provide the most straightforward formulation process and ingredient list. While blends can be useful in some cases, a single-color solution that can achieve the shade target makes a developer’s work easier.


For common targets like orange, red, and yellow, Sensient’s optimized color ingredients offer formulators a cost-effective shortcut. We often reach for cost-effective black carrot, where we have multiple shade options available, or a flexible ingredient like beta-carotene, offering a range of hues from yellow to peach to orange to red.

High-Performing Natural Colors Enable Development Efficiency

Color sources like pumpkin and orange carrot, while clean-label and permitted in the United States, are not the most highly concentrated solutions available for the yellow and orange hues they provide. Blends with other sources may achieve the same shade as a single-source optimized color, but they may increase cost, internal ingredient approvals needed, or overall inefficiency that a turnkey high-performing color could avoid.



sensient food competition gummy bears

Black Currant Concentrate, Blueberry Concentrate, Carrot Concentrates, Spirulina Extract, Sweet Potato Concentrate, Tumeric Extract

Market offerings like this example use six color components to achieve four basic shades.

sensient food colors logo
sensient food gummy bears

Beta Carotene, Black Carrot, Tumeric

With Sensient’s deep portfolio, the same four shades can be achieved with only three high-performing color solutions.

How to Approach Color Formation in Gummies and Fruit Snacks

color formation blue gummies
color formation gummy rings


Ingredients like blueberry juice and black currant juice are certainly options for developers seeking clean-label colors for gummy confections and fruit snacks, but they aren’t the most efficient solutions available. At Sensient, we understand how important streamlined formulation is for our customers, and we offer optimized, high-performing colors so that these alternative solutions and blends are not necessary.


Around the world, we are seeing a rise in natural color interest from brands and consumers. However, those natural ingredients are not permitted in all regions for all applications. For example, saffron is a color source that is permitted in Canada, Europe, and other parts of the world, but is not approved by the FDA for use as a color in gummy confections or fruit snacks. Sensient is familiar with the permissibility of colorants and can offer regulatory support to navigate these murky waters to ensure ingredient compliance.

color formation blue green gummies


It is important to use colors, especially natural colors, that will be successful in a gummy confection or fruit snack application. Common considerations to keep in mind when starting this process are ingredient interaction, acidity level, heat processing, and base shade of the formula. When offering solution suggestions to our customers, my team and I will ask questions about these aspects of your project to help determine the best fit to achieve the shade you want. For example, if you want a sky blue in a gummy with a low-pH environment or where color is added during or before a heat step, we’ll point you toward Marine Blue, which has improved stability over standard spirulina solutions.


When multiple color components are used in a blend to achieve a single shade, the cost-in-use of that solution increases. Single ingredient solutions like black carrot enable efficient as well as cost-effective formulation. If cost is a concern, experts with a wide toolbox like Sensient’s can focus on recommendations of cost-effective solutions for your specific shade target using a good/better/best mindset. For example, Sensient is vertically integrated on the popular botanical annatto, enabling beautiful bright orange hues with a cost-effective solution. If color performance is the top priority, solutions like beta carotene or Pure-S™ Paprika are available to achieve a specific shade target or minimized flavor profile.


Sensient good better best chart

If you are ready to trial optimized, high-performing colors for easier formulation in your next gummy or fruit snack project, reach out to us for a natural color sample. If you still have questions, our team is ready to help, just ask!

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