The Fun of Colour in Functional Confectionery



Most of us have had a favourite childhood confectionery that provided comfort as a kid and can deeply associate it with childhood memories. In uncertain times, the phenomenon of seeking nostalgia might be one of the many reasons why confectionery has come back in a big way, and not just amongst children.

Put the Fun in Functional

In recent years, brands have found a way to speak to their adult audience through functional confectionery. Under the wellness trend, consumers have been seeking foods that tackle specific health needs and issues in a convenient and enjoyable manner.

The blurring of category lines in functional confectionery brings about a nostalgic twist to their day, without being too reminiscent of medicines in pill formats. It’s no surprise that brands are coming up with new formats and flavours, with 28% of sugar and gum confectionery launches in South Africa, 2023 Year-to-Date featuring a functional claim (Mintel, 2023).

61% of UK adults plan to support their immune health through their diet, in the future.

Mintel, 2022

Offer a Natural Selection

Many of these functional candies have also opted for a natural approach in their ingredient list to remain consistent in providing a ‘health halo’.

In fact, 1 in 4 European sugar & gum confectionery launches had some kind of “natural” claim in 2022.

Mintel, 2022

In fun functional confectionery, the efficacy of its functional claim can be supported via visual cues that may positively affect purchase intent on top. Thus formulating products with the right high-performing colouring food is crucial.

Here are some ideas featuring the fastest-growing functional claims in confectionery:

Immunity related claim

Immunity related claims grew by 278% of South African Sugar and Gum confectionery launches from 2018 to 2023 YTD (Mintel)

Yellow and orange shades are often strongly linked to consumers’ understanding of Vitamin C and communicate the idea of building the body’s immunity and reducing susceptibility to illnesses. Colouring foods like Lemon Yellow or Peach Orange can provide bright yellow to orange shades naturally for your formulation. If you would like to claim the lack of additives and preservatives on your packaging, Cardea™ colouring foods like Cardea™ Banana Yellow are the perfect option for you as the entire formulation is free from additives and preservatives.

Energy related claim

Energy claims grew by 76% of South African Sugar and Gum confectionery launches from 2018 to 2023 YTD (Mintel)

Vibrant shades of reds and dark pinks bring out the expression of vitality that provides a boost to your day. These stronger tones can be achieved with single-ingredient colouring food solutions like Strawberry Red or for example with a ready blend of a purple and a yellow colouring food, like Fusion Strawberry Red.

Antioxidant related claims

Antioxidant claims grew by 26% of South African Sugar and Gum confectionery launches from 2018 to 2023 YTD (Mintel)

The connection between the color green and antioxidants lies in the rich symbolism and natural properties they share. Green represents growth, vitality, and renewal, just as antioxidants are responsible for rejuvenating and protecting our bodies from oxidative stress. Similar to how plants utilize green chlorophyll to capture sunlight and convert it into energy, antioxidants found abundantly in leafy greens and other green-hued fruits and vegetables harness the power of nature to fortify our immune systems, promote healthy aging, and enhance overall well-being. By embodying the essence of green, antioxidants serve as nature’s revitalizers, infusing our bodies with essential nutrients and reinforcing our resilience against daily challenges. Sensient’s range of natural green colours can elevate the value of these antioxidant ingredients in confectionery products.

Look On the White Side

In confectionery products, whitening can help to achieve a look that best signals the flavour profile or to achieve more vibrant final shades after an additional colour is applied on top. Sensient’s global Avalanche™ portfolio was created to offer a wide range of natural whitening options suitable for multiple applications like hard-boiled candies, jellies or gums. Whether you are looking for a titanium dioxide replacement, a natural whitening or opacifying solution for your next development, discover a wide range of suitable solutions here.


Make Colour in Confectionery a Can-Do

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