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Consumers Willing to Pay Almost 50% More For Natural Colors and Flavors

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Consumers Willing to Pay Almost 50% More For Natural Colors and Flavors

Consumers Willing to Pay Almost 50% More For Natural Colors and Flavors
July 19
10:42 2016

Consumers are happy to pay a premium of nearly 50% for food and drink formulated with natural ingredients, according to a new survey commissioned by Lycored, the global leader in carotenoids. In the online poll, researchers asked 506 US consumers whether they would be prepared to spend more on a product if it was made with natural flavorings and colors. In total, 88% said they would.

This group of consumers was then told that the average flavored milk beverage costs US$1.50 and they were asked how much they would be willing spend on a product if it was made with natural ingredients. On average, they said they would pay up to $2.20 – 47% more.

The survey also found that the respondents preferred the appearance of natural colors even when they were not told they were natural. The researchers asked the respondents to express their visual perceptions of naturalness when presented with two flavored milk drinks formulated with Lycored’s Tomat-O-Red® natural colors and another made with Red 3, an artificial colorant. They were not informed which was which, and were asked to rate them on a 10 point scale in which 0 was ‘not at all natural’ and 10 was ‘extremely natural’.

Lycored’s Tomat-O-Red® RP, which is designed for use in a wide range of foods and beverages, performed best, with consumers rating it the most natural looking. It was followed by Tomat-O-Red® R, which was developed for products that contain oil and fat. The artificial colorant, Red 3, was ranked third most natural looking.

Christiane Lippert, Head of Marketing (Food) at Lycored, said: “Our research delivers two key learnings. Firstly, consumers are willing to pay significantly more for the reassurance that a product contains natural colors and flavors. Secondly, they find natural colors more appealing from a visual perspective. For food and beverage manufacturers there is a clear message here: using natural ingredients in formulations will resonate with shoppers and enable you to charge more for your products, boosting sales and profits.”

Resilient Reds Put to the Test
In tandem with its consumer research, Lycored ran a trial to establish the stability of its natural colors following UHT processing, which is commonly used in the manufacturing of flavored milks.

Lycored used two different UHT process technologies to make strawberry flavored milk drinks: direct injection and tubular. Subsequently, the beverages were subjected to accelerated shelf life tests. In each case, it was observed that the products made with Tomat-O-Red® RP and Tomat-O-Red® R exhibited excellent color stability, with no variation visible to the naked eye. By contrast, the color of the flavored milk made with Red 3 varied dramatically from day zero onwards.

Lycored also evaluated the performance of its natural colors in tests that replicated the harshest possible conditions during transportation, storage and while on sale in-store. The UHT strawberry milk drinks were exposed for extended periods to 24/7 light (6,000 lux), ambient temperatures of 25°C-40°C (in normal day/night light patterns), and continual incubation at 40°C (in the dark).

In all cases, the resilience of Tomat-O-Red® colorings was demonstrated by little or no variation in the color of the milkshakes they were used in, while the flavored milks made with the artificial color, Red 3, displayed marked variations.

Tammi Higgins, Head of Colorants at Lycored, commented: “Color stability is a priority for food and beverage manufacturers and these tests prove that Tomat-O-Red® natural colors will withstand even the most difficult conditions over an extended period. This eliminates the need for expensive chilled storage and transportation, and reduces wastage. Most importantly, it means brands can be certain that their products will be enjoyed by the end-consumer exactly as they intended.”

Lycored’s Tomat-O-Red® natural red colors are certified Kosher, Halal, non-GMO and vegetarian, and are heat, light and pH stable. Visitors to IFT Expo 2016 are invited to visit the Lycored stand (4457) to learn more.

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