President of the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) Margaret Lawson has become vice president for science and innovation at global food colour manufacturer DD Williamson.
"We are delighted that Margaret has selected DD Williamson to apply her innovation and expertise," said Ted Nixon, DD Williamsons chief executive officer.
Indeed, her appointment highlights the growing importance of colour within the food industry. Lawson said that colour was becoming an increasingly significant factor in informing consumer purchasing decisions.
"Im excited to join a world leader in this field," she said.
Lawson joins a firm that has made a number of recent product innovations in this field. Here at this years IFT show in Orlando, Florida, the company has unveiled a new caramelised onion prototype, which offers customers a natural colour additive.
The development of this natural colour product is very much in line with current consumer demands. Food makers have increasingly been looking for alternatives to artificial food colours such as Sunset Yellow , Tartrazine and Quinoline Yellow.
In July last year, for example, the UK's Co-op chain banned these three legal colours, along with nine others, in direct response to [consumer] concerns. And furthermore, the UK's Food Standards Agency is currently seeking views and comments on proposed amendments to European colour regulations covering Sunset Yellow FCF (E 110) and Titanium Dioxide (E 171).
"We developed the caramelised onion product in response to our customers' need for clean labelling as 100 per cent onion," said Owen Parker, vice president for research and development.
The company says that the product can be listed on an ingredient statement as 'caramelised onion juice concentrate'. Additional prototypes derived from fruits, vegetables, and other carbohydrate sources are in development.
DD Williamson operates nine manufacturing sites on five continents, and hopes that the appointment of Lawson will drive further innovation within the food colour sector.