Lycored’s super-stable colours start bright and stay bright in confectionery

Lycored’s carotenoid-derived colours have passed the confectionery test, proving super-stable in both vitamin-enriched gummies and hard-coated candy

Meanwhile, research has demonstrated that the use of natural colours does not diminish the appeal of candy to kids and enhances it for parents. All the research will be showcased at the forthcoming IFT expo (15–18 July in Chicago).

Lycored offers a range of natural colour solutions for confectionery. Tomat-O-Red (pinks to reds) is sourced from lycopene from tomatoes, whereas Lyc-O-Beta (yellows and oranges) is extracted from beta carotene.

First, researchers set out to test the performance of these carotenoid-derived colours in vitamin-enriched gummies. They did accelerated and real-time shelf life stability tests on gummies coloured with six different Lycored shades, comparing them with samples produced by the same manufacturer but coloured artificially.

The Lycored-coloured gummies contained vitamin C, but the artificially coloured alternatives did not.

The natural colours from Lycored all remained true to fruit in their natural colour hues. Their stability was strong under intense light conditions and similar to that of the synthetic colours. This was the case despite the additional stress of vitamin C content, which disrupts the stability of some colourants.

Surviving the rigours of hard-coating: Lycored also investigated the performance of its carotenoid-derived colours during the rigorous hard-coating/panning process in hard-coated confectionery.

They were tested in two different coatings for candy — Quick White from Norevo and Titanium Dioxide. The formulations, in shades of red, yellow and orange were tested for four weeks at temperatures of 20, 25, 30 and 35 °C in clear plastic bags and in a humidity controlled environment.

Lycored’s colours all performed very well, achieving good quality shades in both coatings. In fact, the coating experts noted their user-friendliness compared with other colour sources.

Christof Ruttgers, Confectionery Technologist at D&F Drouven, who did the research, said: “Water-soluble reds can be challenging to work with in confectionery as they often become white or dusty when sugar crystals form."

"This is the case with synthetics and maltodextrin-based colours, as well as vegetable concentrates such as beets. However the Lycored colours we tested are oil-based, which makes them much more resilient.”

Natural colours not a deal-breaker for kids: Lycored also undertook consumer research to understand the way children, and their parents, respond to natural and artificial colours in confectionery.

It conducted interviews with ten children and their parents. Each pair was sent a bag of gummies coloured naturally with Tomat-O-Red and Lyc-O-Beta and another made by the same manufacturer but coloured artificially.

Both the children and their parents were able to distinguish between the naturally coloured candies and the artificial ones. However, although the children tended to prefer the brighter, artificial colours they were enthusiastic about eating all of them.

The parents said that in an ideal world they would prefer to feed their kids healthy options. If all other factors, such as taste, were similar they would buy candy coloured naturally.

Some said they would be willing to pay more for naturally coloured versions of candy they already buy.

Christiane Lippert, Head of Marketing, Food, at Lycored, said: “For kids, candy is candy and taste is king. They might notice that artificially coloured products look brighter, but colour definitely isn’t deal-breaker."

"And when their parents realise that naturally coloured products taste exactly the same, factors such as clean label and naturality come back into play. Meanwhile, we’re delighted that two more stability trials have demonstrated the high performance of our natural colours in yet another category.”

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