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Can anyone imagine a food without a colour? Food colouring is one of the major segments in the food and beverage industry. Any food can be sold by adding food colours within the food product, which will significantly attract large number of customers.
Food colouring is a common ingredient in most of the food products which we consume. For example in jellies, ice creams, juices, sauce etc we can find food colours.
In the past, food colours were mainly obtained from naturally available resources also called as natural food colours from vegetables, fruits, flowers, minerals and animals. But today, in order to increase the sales of food products, artificial or synthetic food colours that are made of coal tar and petroleum are being used, which can be harmful to the children.
Today, throughout the world, there is an increase in usage of natural food colours when compared to artificial/synthetic colours, in new launches of food and drink products, at the ratio of 2:1. The report also highlights significant differences between regions in their migration to the use of natural colours. Between 2009 and 2011, the European food and beverages industry had used 85% of natural food colours in their new launches of food products, consequently leads the global market in terms of natural food colours usage, as per the combined report given by Mintel and Leatherhead Food Research.
The global sales of natural colours in 2011 was around $600million, which was 29% more when compared to its total sales in 2007, having an annual growth of more than 7% and the revenue generated by natural varieties in the total food colours market had increased to around 39% in 2011, when compared to its share of 34% in 2007, as per the report.
Comparatively, between 2007 and 2011, the growth within the artificial/synthetic colours market had value sales increasing by less than 4%. In 2011, this market was around $570million, which is equivalent to 37% of the overall food colour market, when compared to its share of 40% in 2007. Consequently, the report says that in 2011, the value of natural colours has outpaced artificial/synthetic colours globally.
In the natural food colours global market, the food industry alone accounts for a 70% of its share, when compared to soft drinks share of 27% and 3% for alcoholic beverages, according to the report.
In 2011, the overall global market for food colours was around $1.55billion, which is up by 13%, when compared to 2007. But the average annual growth levels in 2011 was between 2% and 3%, which had decreased when compared to 4-5% growth experienced in the past 10 years. This decrease in its growth was mainly due to global economic recession, which had a direct affect on the consumer’s expenditure on most of the sectors including food and drinks industry, due to which the demand for artificial/synthetic food colourings also had a turn down.
Due to the rise in demand by the consumers to seek simplicity and purity in food and drink ingredients lists, there would be a significant growth in the natural food formulations, which will in-turn drive the global food and drink industry growth in the near future. Therefore, the use of natural food colour will increase when compared to artificial/ synthetic food colours, according to Rachel Wilson, principal technical advisor at Leatherhead Food Research.
The increased trend towards greater use of natural colours will continue even in the future, mainly by premium food and drink segments that are primarily focussed towards manufacturing food products for children.