Natural colors are types of food additives which are extracted from natural sources and added in food to improve its taste and appearance. Colorants are used to enhance the color of a product, to restore the color lost during processes, to standardize the color and its appearance and to increase acceptability of food. Food is the largest application segment for natural colorants with over 32% market share, followed by soft drinks and alcoholic beverages.
The colors market is estimated at $1.8 billion in 2010, and natural colors market is estimated at $.66 billion of that total. Total color usage has been growing by about 4.5 % year on year, but naturals are growing by 6.7% year on year. Europe is the largest market for natural colors and flavors, which holds around 35% of the total market share, followed by North America and Asia Pacific.
The global natural colorants market is increasing due to increase in trend of consumption of natural ingredients. The clean-label declaration is the biggest advantage of natural colors. Moreover, natural colors are suitable for a wide range of sugar confectionery products replacing artificial colors with natural colors.
However, natural colors are more difficult to work with because natural colors are extracted from natural sources; the actual raw materials tend to be more expensive than their artificial counterparts and can lack color intensity. On the other hand, people use natural colors to obtain a color shade not achievable with other ingredients.
The overall demand for natural colorants is increasing due to increasing concerns of improving overall health and consumption of natural ingredients. The market for natural colors is likely to become competitive as manufacturers have begun using natural colors in many products and also to obtain highly stable natural colors and explore newer natural extracts.
Key companies that include BASF, CHR Hansen, Givaudan, Firmenich SA, International Flavors & Fragrances Inc., Symrise etc have to analyze the changing consumer tastes and the trend towards natural flavors and colors. Moreover, the changing global economic situation has resulted in changing consumption patterns and legislative guidelines in the global food industry.
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