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Nature vs nurture: the novelty of colors from natural sources

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Nature vs nurture: the novelty of colors from natural sources​ 

Color is critical to confectionery. Consumers want unique, colorful products that look great on social media. Artificial colors can meet those desires but they are unacceptable to many consumers, forcing brands to look for new, natural ways to create eye-catching confectionery. ADM is supporting brands with a naturally sourced ingredient portfolio covering the full spectrum, including trending blues and greens.

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With eighty-five percent of consumers citing color as the primary reason for buying a product, and eighty percent of people saying that color increases brand recognition, brands need to recognise the influence of color in the confectionary market.1 ​Color even affects other senses, with studies showing that appearance affects the perceived taste of a product.2​ 

Grafik Colors in Confectionery

While recognition of the importance of color goes back decades — with one study assessing its effect on taste happening in 1936 — social media and in particular Instagram have magnified its significance.3​ Food is a major focus of Instagram, accounting for more than 250 million posts a month.4​ Thirty-eight percent of the 1 billion active Instagram users view food content.5

Color in the Instagram age

On Instagram, color is key. Instagram posts need to be visually engaging to gain traction and research suggests some colors catch the eye more than others. One study found images that are predominantly blue get 24% more likes than those that are predominantly red.6

That finding appears to be influencing the food industry, with one expert stating “the ability of a little blue to turn the dullest food into an Instagrammable shot helps explain its surging popularity.”7​ The New York Times picked up on the trend, naming blue its food color of the year for 2020.8​ Green is the other trending color in 2020.9

The importance of color, and in particular blues and greens, in the Instagram era creates challenges for confectionary brands. Artificial blues and greens are available but are incompatible with the clean labels consumers demand. With two-thirds of people saying they avoid artificial colors, confectionery manufacturers need to use natural ingredients to succeed.10

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Expanding the naturally sourced color palette

ADM has developed a portfolio of naturally sourced ingredients to help confectionary brands create visually appealing products, such as their Colors from Nature range, which includes concepts for hard-boiled candy and chocolate. The portfolio spans the full spectrum, including the blues and greens that were previously hard to achieve naturally. For North America and Canada ADM created naturally sourced blues and greens by applying traditional fruit juice processing methods to the huito fruit, becoming the first company to enter the market. In the European market, the extraction of Spirulina has provided a way to attain naturally sourced blue colors which is now widely used. Both Spirulina and Huito can be used to blend with other colors to create appealing shades of greens and purples.

Both pigments are just a few examples of ADM’s harnessing of the natural world to create novel colors. ADM has also turned to the safflower plant to create a natural yellow coloring and processed many other plants to develop other ingredients, equipping it to help brands meet consumer trends today and in the future. The result is a color portfolio that provides both the eye-catching, Instagrammable look consumers desire, and the natural, clean label characteristics they demand.

To find out more about ADM’s colors portfolio, and how they can create products and solutions to suit your needs, click the banner below.

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