Reflecting the importance of natural, healthy appearance in the category, colors from natural sources are commonly used in fruit preparations in yogurts.
These include lycopene and other carotenoids, carrot concentrate, paprika and carmine.
According to Lycored, research in dairy categories indicates that consumers will pay more for products colored and flavored naturally.
However, the company told DairyReporter, using naturally-sourced colors can be technically challenging.
Some colors are sensitive to pH, UV light and extreme temperatures, and may not interact well with some recipe matrices, such as high fat systems.
Lycored’s naturally-sourced colors from lycopene and beta-carotene offer a range of pink to red and yellow to orange shades.
The company said it recently set out to explore their stability in fruit preparations for yogurts both in a retail lighting environment and through a process of industrial scale-up trials.
Performance was measured against other naturally-sourced colors – for example how Lycored’s ‘reds’ withstand migration into white dairy mass in yogurt and how that compares with the performance of carmine.
The comparative appearance of yogurts containing fruit preparations was monitored and assessed over 31 days, with 24 unique samples tested. Each sample of 100g full fat Greek yogurt contained 40g of preparation from four common fruit varieties – lemon, apricot, peach and strawberry.
For each fruit variety, at least one sample contained an appropriate Lycored colorant and at least one contained an alternative colorant.
In the yogurt containing lemon preparation, the company said there was significant fade and migration in the sample colored with paprika, compared with the sample coloured with Lyc-O-Beta Clear Emulsion.
In the strawberry samples, there was severe migration from the carmine-based colorant, compared with the samples coloured with Tomat-O-Red. There was also significant fade and distortion from the sample containing fruit preparation with no color.
In the yogurt containing apricot preparation, Lyc-O-Beta NG NS delivered high vibrancy with minimal fade compared to carrot concentrate. In the peach yogurt, there was significant fade and migration in both the sample with no colorant, and the sample colored with carrot concentrate. By contrast Lyc-O-Beta Emulsion F delivered far higher stability.
In Phase 2, the stability of four naturally-sourced colorants was assessed under the stronger and longer heat process of scaled industrial production (under temperatures of 75OC, 85OC and 95OC.)
In each of the samples, colors remained stable at 95OC when held at that temperature for more than 30 minutes.
Lycored said its recent testing shows there are now greater opportunities to color products naturally without compromising on stability.