Carmine use still strong through 2009

By Lorraine Heller

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags New products Cochineal

The use of the food colouring carmine has steadily increased in key European markets over the past six years, according to the latest market data from Mintel.

Figures from the analyst’s global new products database (GNPD) reveal a 76 per cent increase in new European launches listing carmine as an ingredient between 2004 and 2009.

The most popular product categories have been dairy and confectionery, followed by processed meats and ready meals.

This increased uptake can be partly put down to an overall trend toward natural ingredients. This has resulted in a spike in demand from the European food industry, particularly after the publication of the study from Southampton University, which linked six artificial food colours to hyperactivity in children.

Carmine is made from carminic acid, produced from the ground bodies of cochineal insects, primarily grown on South American cactus. It is a popular ingredient for food and beverage applications both for its distinct pink, red or purple colour and for its stability in acid and heat.

The colouring is currently used in a variety of products such as ice creams, yogurts, fruit drinks, alcoholic drinks and candy products.

More carmine in France, less in UK

Mintel’s post-market analysis reveals that in the key European markets of the UK, France, Germany, Italy and Spain, the number of new products made with carmine increased from 171 in 2004 to 301 in 2009.

During the same period, the use of carmine in new products in the UK has more than halved. In 2004, the UK led with 95 new launches. However, these steadily decreased in the period tracked, and by 2009 they had dropped to 40.

In contrast, France saw new launches more than double during the period. In 2004, there were 25 new products containing carmine launched in France. By 2009, there were 89 new launches.

Changing market in 2010?

This year has revealed a huge turnaround for carmine, which is likely to have an impact of the ingredient’s uptake in new products in 2010.

Prices for the ingredient have increased by at least 600 per cent this year as compared to 2009, prompting a shift towards alternatives. Reasons for the increase include a higher demand coupled with tighter supplies. For more information, read the article here​.

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