Marshmallow colour and flavour innovation and an extension of its red shade portfolio have been the focus of recent R&D work at natural ingredients producer Wild.
Speaking to FoodNavigator.com about the upcoming FiE show in Paris, Hélène Möller, product manager for ingredients at Wild, said the supplier was increasingly deriving colours from vegetable sources and exploiting the potential of red cabbage, for one, to extend its range of natural red shades.
She said that demand from the confectionery sector, in particular, was a critical driver behind R&D projects at the German supplier.
To appeal to industry need for brand differentiation in a saturated market, Wild said its colour and flavour portfolio has widened to include
water-soluble colours for marshmallows. These, said Möller, are derived from sources including turmeric, safflower, and Elderberry, producing red, orange, or yellow coloured marshmallows.
“It took a while to determine the correct dosages needed for the different hues,” said Möller, who said that the marshmallow liquid mass is extremely sensitive to the addition of any oil-stable ingredients or de-foaming agents. “Adding natural colours to aerated or foamed products is challenging as the process causes the colour to fade. The dosage depends on aeration strength."
Möller said that the German supplier has also produced different natural flavours for marshmallow manufacturers from raspberry to lemon to cherry and vanilla.
May this year saw Wild reporting that, in conjunction with extrusion specialists Extrufood, it had overcome the technical challenges associated with using natural colours in extrusion products.
Its new natural extrusion-stable colours, sourced from fruits and vegetables, have applications for extruded confectionery such as chewing gums or candy rolls. “Depending on the colour, they withstand temperatures ranging from 80°C up to 135°C."
Natural confectionery trend
Studies questioning health risks posed by artificial colours such as tartrazine have helped sparked the trend towards natural, with high levels of new product activity in this area, notes a recent Leatherhead report.
The confectionery sector, with children the primary target, has been leading the switch to natural colours and flavours.
Indeed, the natural sector accounted for nearly 10 per of total confectionery sales cent in 2009 when confectionery sales marketed on a natural platform amounted to $6.26bn (€1.8m), reports Leatherhead.
This figure was limited to the world’s largest and most quantifiable markets such as the US, the UK, France, Germany and Italy.
The sugar and gum confectionery accounted for a leading 62 per cent of natural confectionery sales in 2009, with chocolate making up the remaining 38 per cent.