Catering for adventurous consumers with colouring and flavours market
Daisy Phillipson explores the latest in colourants and flavourings for confectionery in line with this year’s top trend: the adventurous consumer.
When it comes to confectionery, two of the most important elements to consider are the visual appeal and the taste. Not only are they essential in ensuring the overall enjoyment of a product, but they are also the key driving force for the industry’s ongoing shift towards natural ingredients.
While being free from artificial colours and flavours has gone from being a trend to a prerequisite in certain markets, when it comes to demand for confectionery, a new generation of consumers is having a growing influence on product development.
As was outlined in research group Innova Market Insights’ annual survey, one of the key trends in 2019 and beyond is the so-called adventurous consumer, someone who is set on new discoveries and experiences – even when it comes to sweet treats.
The connected world has led consumers of all ages to become more knowledgeable of other cultures, contributing to a 17 percent growth of “discovery” claims on packaging between 2014 and 2018 and two in three of the thousands of participants surveyed admitting they “love to discover new flavours”.
Customers of all ages are moving out of their comfort zones to explore bolder taste profiles and multisensory food experiences. And that’s exactly where colour and flavour inclusions come in.
Sun is shining
Food and beverage brands are increasingly moving towards marketing messages that communicate the ability of their products to convey certain emotions to the consumer. This year it’s all about happiness and positivity, says GNT Group, whose analysis highlighted that in 2019 buyers are seeking food items that inspire upbeat, positive emotions.
These findings went hand-in-hand with Innova Market Insights’ research, which noted that the number of food and beverage launches with a “feel good” claim on the label continues to rise.
Maartje Hendrickx, market development manager at GNT, said: “In 2019 consumers will prefer food and drink that can arouse a sense of freshness and light, qualities that yellow and orange shades deliver. Just as pink was embraced by Millennials, Generation Z [under 21] will channel the positivity of sunshine shades to sprinkle cheerfulness into their lives.”
With this trend in mind, GNT developed and recently launched its launched Exberry Sunshine Shades. Ranging from bright sunbeam yellow to deep harvest orange, they are all derived from raw materials rooted in nature, including pumpkin, carrots and turmeric.
The Sunshine Shades range has been developed as part of the natural ingredients company’s new Love Color with Exberry initiative for 2019, exploring how colour can influence mood and deliver feelings of excitement and contentment, while also satisfying the adventurous consumers who are keen to discover new food experiences.
As the shift towards natural continues, more and more brands are utilising the power of botanicals as a source of flavour inspiration. Global ingredients business ADM forecasted this as a growth area in 2019 for the confectionery segment, explaining that the use of such extracts offers natural flavour and allows manufacturers to experiment with interesting profile pairings to answer the demands of the adventurous consumer.
ADM’s portfolio incorporates popular flavours while also generating a buzz with unexpected taste accents, for example popular fruits with a hint of spice or aromatics from natural extracts of well-known herbs and flowers. For example, hibiscus is a great match with apple, while basil goes well with red berries.
But while product development experts at the food processing company continue to explore and develop intriguing flavour combinations, posing huge texture and taste potential for the confectionery sector, it’s important to consider the significance of health consciousness and regulation issues when it comes to new product development.
In the UK alone, the country recently introduced a sugar tax and continues on its aim to cut the sugar content of confectionery products by 20% by 2020. It’s one of the biggest challenges facing the industry – yes, consumers are seeking sugar-reduced products, but they also don’t want to compromise on taste.
In recent years, ADM has worked in close conjunction with a trained panel of sensory experts to overcome these challenges by producing a wide selection of flavours with modifying properties.
The WILD Flavors modifiers not only help to improve the taste of products containing less of the sweet stuff, but they can also help to reduce off notes, such as a less metallic or bitter aftertaste, as well as improve mouthfeel properties. These inclusions fit nicely into the clean label trend, as they can be declared as “natural flavours” on the packaging.
According to market data, almost 90% of global consumers pay attention to sugar, sweeteners or related claims when choosing food and drinks. Growing concerns on sugar intake are driving the food and beverage industry to respond with reformulation of products or new developments based on less or low sugar. =
However, as mentioned, consumers aren’t willing to trade-off on taste. A dedicated team of flavourists, application technologists and sensory experts over at Bell Flavors & Fragrances EMEA overcame this issue by developing a new range of natural flavours that are able to retain the products’ taste appeal and sensory attributes while reducing the sugar content.
Bell’s new REDsugar flavours are a market-led solution – as compositions of complex molecules that strike the necessary balance within recipes, they close the sugar gap by maintaining mouthfeel, taste and texture. As a result, the sugar content in items such as shortbread and other sweet bakery formulations can be decreased by at least 30%, depending on the application.
The taste solutions have been successfully tested in a variety of segments and are perfect for clean label claims – while they mimic the molecular composition of sugar, they can be declared as free from sweeteners and artificial sweeteners, free from steviol glycosides and free from stevia extract.
The full range
Sugar debate aside, as we head into the summer months, it’s clear vibrancy is at the forefront of market interest – outlook predicts demand for the sunshine tones of natural colours as well as fresh, fruity and floral flavours.
To satisfy the market no matter what direction it goes in, Kanegrade is an expert in the field, offering manufacturers a diverse range of natural colours and flavours. Alongside GNT, the company forecasted feel good colours to be one of the key visual trends of this year.
Kanegrade’s food colours are created from material found in nature, with tones ranging from yellow, orange and red, to green and purple, as well as black and white. And if it’s clean label your company is looking for, its collection of all-natural vegetable and fruit-derived colourants are ideal and can simply be declared as an ingredient on packaging, for example beetroot or spinach extract.
For those looking to transition from artificial to natural, Kanegrade delivers full technical advice on the changeover, including assistance with products such as a carmine replacer and an alternative to titanium dioxide.
Interesting flavour combinations are also made possible with the company’s extensive range, which is filled with thousands of taste profiles – everything from orange blossom and white tea, to woodruff, or even rare herbs such as cloudberry are available.
The accessibility of such rare and interesting flavours combined with Kanegrade’s expertise means it’s possible for confectionery manufacturers to stay competitive by creating engaging flavour fusions that pack a punch and arouse interest in the adventurous consumer.
Perhaps the catalyst at the centre of this adventurous consumer concept, at least in the confectionery sector, is the worldwide success of Barry Callebaut’s Ruby Chocolate. Proving the world is ready for a complete overhaul of one of the most widely accepted sweet treats, the global confectionery group has made a significant impact within retail and foodie markets with its pink chocolate, which is light, creamy and has a hint of berry flavour.
The range is now available across the world, with at least eleven launches including Ruby Chocolate within the recipe at this year’s ISM event, and was tipped to be the key craze for confectionery this year by Innova Market Insights, among others.
Made using the ruby cocoa bean, chocolatiers continue to experiment with this fascinating breakthrough.
Over the Easter season, for example, Aldi released a diamond-shaped Ruby Chocolate egg filled with a variety of chocolates featuring on-trend flavours such as pecan praline, black tea and gianduja, raspberry, Malden sea salted caramel and orange and pomelo.
Elsewhere, Kit Kat fans were delighted when Nestlé launched its first ever Ruby Chocolate Kit Kat egg, a rose-coloured product wrapped in bright pink foil that came with two packs of four finger bars made with Ruby Chocolate on the side.
These are just a couple of the innovations introduced to the shelves using Barry Callebaut’s “fourth” type of chocolate. The launch and subsequent success of the groundbreaking ingredient, alongside trends such as using colours to evoke emotion and experimenting with botanical flavour formulations, show that the confectionery industry is far from tired.
In fact, it is only just getting started – there are many more adventures to be had in 2019 and beyond.