Chr. Hansen launches hibiscus color

Chr. Hansen expands its palette of natural colors with a new hibiscus extract aimed at the growing market for naturally colored drinks.

These years drinks and sweets producers are making a shift towards natural colors as more and more consumers associate natural products with health benefits, superior quality and increased food safety. Overall, sales of food colors grow at 2-3% a year: 3-4% in natural colors and 1-2% in synthetic colors.

Now Chr. Hansen — the global market leader in natural colors for the food and beverage industries — expands its selection of colors of a natural origin with ‘Hibiscus Extract WSP’, an appealing choice for bright red shades in drinks, especially RTD teas and new drinks with fruit and flowers. The new, non-purified extract comes as an easy-to-use and allergen free water soluble powder. Used in low pH applications a beautiful, bright red shade is achieved.

The flower pioneers live in Asia
According to GNPD Mintel data there has been a dramatic increase in recent years in drinks and sweets colored or flavored with hibiscus extract. Retailers in Australia, New Zealand, Europe and the Americas are selling products containing hibiscus too but with numerous exotic and innovative new products marketed every year Asia is the global frontrunner in the flowers and herbs color segment covering among others hibiscus, chrysantemum and aloe vera.

Since 2005 the number of launches of flavored still drinks or nectars containing hibiscus extract has more than doubled in Singapore, Taiwan, Hong-Kong, Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines, Vietnam, and Indonesia. Close to 500 hibiscus products were released in those markets in 2007. Most often targeted at health-conscious, dynamic, urban consumers the claims most often used by the manufacturers using hibiscus extract are ‘no additives/preservatives’ and ‘all natural’.

Consumers want it healthy and natural
“As an innovative ingredient supplier for many of the world’s biggest players in the food and beverage industries we keep a close eye on how consumer preferences develop,” says Bertrand Martzel, Business Development Manager at Chr. Hansen. Fuelled by the health awareness, a ‘back to nature’ trend, and increasing affluence consumers across the world are seeking out more and more exotic food with superior health benefits and high nutritional value — hence the interest in the so-called ‘superfruits’ such as pomegranate, açaí and blueberry.

“The rising interest in colors and flavors from flowers could be the next big thing after the superfruit buzz. Hibiscus is even more attractive as it combines exotic origin, anthocyanins pigment and an appealing name known by consumers,” ends Bertrand Martzel.

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