Natural food colors are popular food additives and derived from minerals, vegetables or animals. They are usually extracted from seeds, leaves, fruits, algae, insects, etc. Natural food colors make food products visually attractive and may also enhance their taste. They are often used to restore colors that are lost on account of moisture factors and temperature changes during processing.
Natural food colors are also utilized to standardize the appearance of foods, beverages and drugs. They are generally stored in a cool place in tightly-sealed containers. This preserves their strength, quality and cooling point. Light, heat and particular food recipe ingredients are the necessary factors considered for making the required natural food colors.
Market Growth Drivers
The worldwide natural food colors market was valued at USD 1,100 millions in 2014. It is expected to grow at a CAGR of over 6% by 2020. The share of natural food colors in the food colors market is estimated to be close to 60% in 2020.
Clean-label food products are minimally processed, have a simplified listing of ingredients and are free from additives. Rising focus on consuming clean-label products is fuelling the demand for the natural food colors market. These food colors reduce the amount of fat in food. This is bound to attract the younger population which is conscious of a healthy lifestyle.
Synthetic food colors pose significant risks with regards to health and environment. The link between the consumption of synthetic food colors and high migraine, allergy and even cancer cases in children has resulted in their ban. This ban has been imposed by leading authorities such as UK Food Standards Agency and European Union.
Moreover, the chemicals used for manufacturing synthetic food colors have harmful effects on the environment. Growing awareness of these ill-effects is triggering further development of the market. The widening utilization of natural food colors in end-use applications, like crayons, infant toys, organic textile printing, handmade paper, etc. would also accelerate the sales of the market.
The growing consumption of processed and instant food is adding income to the food colors industry, consequently favoring the natural food colors market.
Natural food colors are harder to make in comparison to synthetic ones. Colors imparted by natural additives often lack intensity. They are also greatly unstable and can easily fade due to pH level changes, surrounding temperatures, light amount, etc.
Natural food colors raw materials are also more expensive than their synthetic counterparts. All these factors may inhibit the global market from expanding further.
The leading products of the natural food colors market are curcumin; anthocyanin; carotenoids; paprika extract; chlorophyll; and spirulina. Carotenoids, with a valuation of USD 360 million in 2014, were the leader of the products natural food colors market.
Anthocyanin stood second. It is used to impart red, pink, purple and blue colors to some beverages and foods with low pH. Spirulina is anticipated to register exponential growth from 2015 to 2020.
The main application segments are packaged foods; beverages; dairy products; confectionary & bakery; and others. The segment of others comprises functional foods; frozen foods; pet foods; and condiments & dressings. Beverages, with revenue of around USD 230 million, accounted for nearly 21% of the natural food colors market in 2013.
North America; Western Europe; and Asia Pacific excluding Japan (APEJ) together accounted for more than three/fourth of the natural food colors market in 2014. Western Europe was the dominant region that year and expected to sustain its leadership till 2020.
APEJ is likely to emerge as a lucrative natural food colors market in the near future. The region offers several advantages, like favorable regulatory frameworks and cheap labor. Manufacturers are also striving to tap the under-penetrated regions of the Middle East, Eastern Europe and Africa.
The dominating manufacturers in the natural food colors market include Symrise AG; BASF SE; Givaudan Group; International Flavors & Fragrances Inc.; Chr. Hansen; Firmenich SA; Sensient Technologies; etc. These players are engaged in understanding consumer tastes and developing appropriate products.
Research Support Specialist, USA