How to Switch to Natural Colours in 2018: Lessons Learned.

The Challenge

Natural colours are becoming more popular as consumers increasingly demand healthier ingredients and clean label products. Today’s increased awareness about additives, preservatives and artificial colours are forcing manufacturers to face the “tricky” challenge of reformulating their finished goods, whilst still keeping the same specific taste, look and feel that consumers associate with their favourite products.

Replacing chemical-based artificial colours is an even greater challenge, since they play such a fundamental part in the consumers’ perception of a product’s look, taste and quality.

Yet, as a manufacturer you are well aware that formulating with natural ingredients may sound easy, but it definitely isn’t. In fact, it is a real challenge to find suitably stable natural sources for the shades needed. Let’s take the colour yellow as an example: Many industries have been tempted to use curcumin to give a beautiful, bright yellow colour to their products; however, although stable at temperatures used in food processing, curcumin is light sensitive and only slightly soluble in water [Source]. ROHA, a global leader in food colours, has found the solution to this restriction associated with curcumin and has created a true game changer yellow colour: Natracol® Bright Yellow. This water dispersible curcumin liquid is bright yellow and stays bright yellow. It does not change in shade or brightness with change of pH. It is also highly stable to extended exposure to light.

ROHA’s extensive portfolio of natural colours are the result of continuous efforts to offer you the most innovative and breakthrough products. To honour this commitment to innovation, ROHA has opened a 16,000 square-foot Global Center of Expertise exclusively dedicated to the research, development and production of naturally-derived colours. The result of this centre have brought to life a full spectrum of natural colours that can be discovered here.

How Big Food Industries have made the switch

The decision to reformulate is just the first step of a lengthy, and at times complex, process to ensure that consumers will welcome your newly formulated product. Whether you decide to announce it publicly or to gently introduce your new formulation, it’s a business decision that needs to be considered cautiously.
Nestle publicly announced their intention of removing artificial colors in 2015 , when they decided to remove Red 40 and Yellow 5 in the crunch centre of their Butterfinger™ chocolate bar with annatto. The transparency of their decision and their early move was welcomed by the general public. Nestle successfully conveyed an image of a company that is receptive to the growing consumer demand for products made with natural ingredients.

Kraft Heinz, on the other hand, decided to replace the Yellow No. 5 and Yellow No. 6 dyes with natural colouring from paprika, annatto and turmeric in a more subtle way in their very popular Kraft Dinner. They decided to say nothing, until the newly reformulated product went on sale. The result was equally successful as many consumers did not realize there had been a change and welcomed the good news of the switch to natural products, whilst noticing that their traditional taste had not been altered.
General Mills, however, faced a backlash from its customer base as they failed to duplicate the bright colours and flavours of its original Trix Cereal. Hence their decision to bring back “Classic Trix” in October 2017. [Source]

The lesson is clear. Whatever you do, however you decide to announce your switch, the key to a successful change is one: the natural colours you use. Choose them wisely!

Contact us now or contact your CCC Ingredients Technical Sales Representative for further information on our complete colour range!

Additional documents, samples and application information are available upon request.