What’s the occasion for Barry Callebaut’s E-free red?

By Annie-Rose Harrison-Dunn

- Last updated on GMT

Barry Callebaut says its new red food color could home in on seasonal retail opportunities
Barry Callebaut says its new red food color could home in on seasonal retail opportunities

Related tags: Color, Chocolate

Barry Callebaut has expanded its E-number free printable colorant range to include red, a move the company hopes will help tap into seasonal opportunities as well as the clean label trend.

The Zurich-based company has worked with its cocoa powder brand, Bensdorp, and its Belgium printing company, IBC, to develop a way of printing the natural Cocoart Collection colorants onto sheets or rolls which can then be applied to any food application, such as boxed chocolates.

Season of opportunity

The range already included purple, black and brown but Callebaut’s marketing director, Sofie de Lathouwer, said this new red addition could open up seasonal opportunities like Valentine’s Day and Christmas as well as upcoming events like the FIFA World Cup 2014 in Brazil, commenting that almost every flag contained red. 

“Seasonality is gaining more market share and people need to be very flexible on making their product look different. That’s why it’s so easy to do it with the prints that we have."

Clean label pressure

She said that E-numbers had experienced bad press in recent years, leading to an industry shift towards clean labeling. “A lot of people have taken that all E-numbers – not only the azo colours – are bad for your health, bad for children, bad for hyperactivity, etc,”​ she said.  

De Lathouwer explained that Callebaut’s red colorant is a natural ingredient, not an E-number or additive.

“For a lot of people it really gives them a better feeling in terms of the ingredient list, because that’s the problem as a consumer you read the back of a packet and you see so many E-numbers you think: ‘Oh my God this cannot be very natural, this cannot be very healthy, I do not know it,’”​ she said.

She said that the company is currently trying to develop new colors. “There are some things going on as well on the coloring side. Colors for instance which are not perceived as being good or should be replaced for instance with titanium dioxide, which is white,”​ she said.

Seeing red

Callebaut uses a patented process of acidification and fermentation with cocoa beans already of a particular color in order to produce the product.  

De Lathouwer said that this extra use of cocoa would not put further strains on the cocoa supply since the process used a relatively small amount of the commodity. “This business will not put our cocoa business into danger. If tomorrow we find another application then okay you can also ask this question,”​ she said.

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