A plant-based coloring solution for dairy alternative drinks

By Jim Cornall contact

- Last updated on GMT

The EXBERRY range covers more than 400 shades, and they can be used in almost any food and drink application, including dairy and non-dairy drinks, yogurts and cheeses. Pic: EXBERRY
The EXBERRY range covers more than 400 shades, and they can be used in almost any food and drink application, including dairy and non-dairy drinks, yogurts and cheeses. Pic: EXBERRY

Related tags: Color, Ingredients, Exberry, Milk, plant-based, Yoghurt, Yogurt, Cheese

Dairy alternative drinks are now hugely popular worldwide, with a growing range of flavorful options.

Dutch company GNT Group said its brand of natural coloring solutions for food and beverage applications, EXBERRY Coloring Foods, can provide the ideal clean-label coloring solution.

Dairy alternative drinks have gone mainstream in recent years, with consumers in countries all over the world finding reasons to add them to their shopping lists.

In the UK, for example, nearly a quarter (23%) of consumers buy milk alternatives.[i]​ In the US, plant-based milk now accounts for 14% of all dollar sales of retail milk.[ii]

With demand increasing worldwide, dairy alternative drinks have seen far greater levels of new product development than dairy drinks. Between 2013 and 2018, global NPD growth for dairy alternative drinks was 14.3%, compared to 8.4% for dairy options.[iii]

It means consumers are able to choose from an array of colorful dairy alternative drinks, from flavored milks to protein shakes. Fruit flavors are among the most popular options, helping to boost products’ taste while also giving a new lease of life to their appearance.[iv]

EXBERRY plant based dairy drink blue
Pic: EXBERRY

For manufacturers, it is essential to ensure these drinks make a strong visual impact. The right color can boost sales by influencing perceptions of the product’s quality, taste and freshness. Once a shopper has bought the drink, it can even determine how much they enjoy the flavor.[v]

However, modern shoppers’ purchasing decisions go beyond just seeking out products with an appetizing appearance. Health is one of the biggest reasons consumers today choose plant-based food and drink, so clean and clear labels are the expectation.[vi]​ Despite this, many of the plant-based products on the market today are heavily processed and feature long ingredient lists.[vii]

As such, we are now moving toward the ‘plant-based 2.0’ era. Manufacturers are seeking to reformulate their products to deliver plant-based alternatives with the short and simple ingredient lists that consumers expect.

EXBERRY Coloring Foods’ color concentrates, which are vegan and suitable for the sector, are made from fruit, vegetables and edible plants using physical processes such as chopping and boiling – and no chemical solvents.

The company said the solution of ‘coloring food with food’ appeals to consumers, as the concentrates are all edible.

The EXBERRY range covers more than 400 shades, and they can be used in almost any food and drink application, including dairy and non-dairy drinks, yogurts and cheeses.

The company said that while making the switch to Coloring Foods can present challenges, it can almost always find a solution and works with its clients during the product development process.

For a smooth transition from prototype to fully commercialized products, it provides advice on EXBERRY storage, handling, ingredients, processing, labeling and formulation.

GNT also has a pilot plant equipped with trial-sized versions of widely used manufacturing and storage equipment dedicated to helping manufacturers perfect their formulations, manufacturing processes and stability to create the optimal color shade, and the company can also provide on-site factory support and customer visits if needed.

[i]​ Mintel 'Milking The Vegan Trend: A Quarter (23%) Of Brits Use Plant-Based Milk' (2019)

[ii]​ The Good Food Institute 'Plant-Based Market Overview' (2020)

[iii]​ Innova Market Insights

[iv]​ The Food People ‘Fruit & Vegetables’

[v]​ Spence, C. ‘On the psychological impact of food colour’ (2015)

[vi]​ Euromonitor International 'The Unstoppable Rise of Plant-Based Alternatives' (2020)

[vii]​ Nielsen 'Meet The New "Meat" Eater' (2019)

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