One of Asia-Pacific’s leading authorities on natural food colours has urged Australian and New Zealand food manufacturers, marketeers and media to show greater leadership in converting to natural colours.
According to Chr Hansen’s Ji Hoong Too, in an address at a top-level meeting in Melbourne, while the Bric countries are seeing significant growth in conversion to natural colours, Australia continues to fall behind them—and many other countries around the world.
As a result, she said change away from artificial colours in Australia would only come if the country’s government was put under pressure by consumers and the all-powerful supermarket chains—although she did single out both Aldi and Coles for having implemented a no-artificial -colour policy within their own brands.
And while other countries had made the switch to natural colours following increasing pressure to remove Caramel Types C & D colouring from foods, it was a concern that Australian legislation still didn’t require this to happen and consumer expectations weren’t as high as elsewhere in this regard.
“The implementation of warning labels on foods containing certain artificial colours in the EU and the UK has resulted in many manufacturers converting to natural colours,” said Ji.
“In Australia and New Zealand, no warning labels are required, and as such the conversion away from artificial colours has progressed at a slower rate.” Ji said.
Aldi was the first supermarket chain in Australia to banish artificial colourings from its entire range of products, and with Coles taking a greater stance on the issue, the pressure now seems to be building on Woolworths.
Australian favourites such as Smarties, Paddle Pops, Fanta and Solo are already using natural colours in their manufacturing processes. However, many iconic Australian brands still continue to use artificial colours.