Innovating with Heat-Stabilized Vibrant Red Shades

In our 2019 Natural Food Color Trends blog we talk about the observation that food and beverage innovation is rooting itself in the power of beets. Why is that? A Mintel trend report on flavors in Europe from February 2019 sums it up well as “Beetroot can offer products distinctive visual appeal that can resonate with younger audiences who are attracted to ‘instagrammable’ food and drink.”

Innovations consequently occur across multiple segments with a red beet latte as a vibrant red beverage, red beet vegetable chips as an alternative to potato-based products or fruit snack offers complemented with beets. This often results in vibrant red food and drink products that combine the high visual appeal with recognizable ingredients and the perceived “feel-good” factor.

However, for some applications, vibrant shades of red might be a challenge for formulation specialists and require sound color expertise and innovative coloring solutions. A deep shade of red from natural sources that is able to survive a strong heating process, such as in the production of baked goods or dry grocery products, was a gap for most in existing color technology.

The pH challenge

Baked goods and many dry grocery products typically are in the 5-7 pH range. During baking or heat processing production, the pH can rise even further. While nature provides us with several red anthocyanin options, these sources will shift from red to purple under these pH conditions.

The Maillard Reaction

French scientist Louis-Camille Maillard first explained what happens when amino acids react with sugar at elevated temperatures about a century ago. Beet is a logical alternative to anthocyanin colors in a neutral pH environment. However, because of the Maillard effect, beet browns during the baking or heat step of manufacturing. This issue can also arise during high shear mixing or extrusion, particularly in cereal or pet food applications.

Texture Impact

Because of the much higher usage rates typically required for natural colors from beet and other vegetable juices, off-notes can be another issue. Additionally, in many baked and packaged food applications, the high usage rate may affect texture. This effect usually leads to less rise than desired in the final product and crumbling in some applications.

Our global R&D teams have been working on solutions to “the heat-stable red challenge.” Within the UberBeet™ platform, formulations deliver bold, vibrant red shades that withstand heat in a neutral pH environment and provide a number of key advantages:

  • Excellent heat stability
  • Intense red shades at low usage with SupraRed™ natural color technology
  • Vivid, dark shades of red with coloring food options
  • Broad range of shades possible in combination with other natural sources
  • Kosher and halal options available

Are you working on your next red velvet innovation? Or would you like to discuss your next vibrant red product innovation? If you have any questions or projects where you need some assistance, please set up a consultation or reach out to me directly. Additionally, you can always request a color sample here.

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