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Bright Ideas: The Evolution of Natural Colours
2014-11-04 09:38:52
 
Use of natural colour has increased rapidly in recent years, as food companies have looked to switch out artificial alternatives-but precisely what they are looking for is changing over time.
 
The natural colour sector received a major boost in 2007, when a study published in The Lancet linked six synthetic cplours(and the preservative sodium benzoate)with hyperactivity in children. The European Food Safety Authority assessed the study and found no reason to revise its opinion on the safety of the colours, but lawmakers decided to mandate a warming label on products across Europe all the same.
 
Since then, food companies have scrambled for ways to avoid such labels-and the ingredients industry has stepped up. But challenges for food manufacturers looking to to cut out synthetic colours remain, including reduced light and heat stability of many natural alternatives; changes in the volume of colour affecting product recipes; changes in the necessary storage conditions; effects on product pH; increased cost, and consumer acceptability of the colour itself.
 
Finding a natural blue has been particularly challenging, but finally, several companies came up with solutions, and blue foods are no longer synonymous with artificially coloured foods.
 
Natural? What does that even mean?
Meanwhile, without a legal definition for “natural” when it relates to colours, consumers have developed their own ideas of what the world really means. 

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