Natural color solutions can provide food and beverage manufacturers with a major edge over their competitors.
By removing artificial and additive colors, manufacturers can meet the demands of 54% of consumers worldwide who want their food and drinks to be made with natural color ingredients only.
Alongside this, communicating their usage clearly on the label becomes increasingly important, as 67% of consumers consider easy to understand ingredient information essential when choosing groceries, finds a global consumer study of 5,000 people in Asia, the Americas and Europe by TNS and the GNT Group.
Credible front of pack-claims give producers the potential to increase brand preference even when a price increase is applied.
Claims ‘with natural colors’ and ‘colored with fruit and vegetables’ are perceived as credible by more than 75% of respondents.
The claim ‘colored with fruit and vegetables’ conveys positive product characteristics such as “is healthy”, “is safe” or “is 100% naturally produced” to more than two thirds of consumers.
The claim preferable also depends on the product category.
For food and beverages perceived as generally less natural, such as sweets or soft drinks, the claim ‘colored with fruit and vegetables’ is most suitable to uplift brand preference because it provides a clearly distinguishing message for consumers.
In food categories with a more natural image, like yogurt, the claim ‘free from artificial colorants’ is perceived equally well.
What consumers understand by ‘natural colors’
When it comes to using coloring ingredients and corresponding claims, manufacturers have to bear in mind that shoppers have a clear idea of how they define natural color solutions.
About 42% of respondents expect natural food colorings to only originate from edible raw material such as fruit and vegetables.
Only 21% perceive colors made from substances such as insects or minerals to be truly natural. The survey was conducted in December 2014 among people aged between 18 and 70 from Brazil, China, France, Germany, Indonesia, Poland, Spain, Thailand, the UK and the US.