Dairy Processing - January/February 2024 - 26

FORMULATIONS
Visual appeal
Food colors add vibrancy and allow for batch to batch consistency.
by Donna Berry | donnaberry@dairy-food.com
C
onsumers expect strawberry yogurt to have a reddish
hue and chocolate milk to be a creamy brown. They
want butter to be pale yellow and, depending upon
where they live in the United States, cheddar cheese should
be either orange or white. Food colors may assist.
THE ROLE OF COLORS
Shade of color impacts perception. A bright red strawberry
yogurt drink suggests it is sweet, maybe like strawberry
flavored candy, while one would expect a muted red color to
have a more farm fresh profile. A deep purple-like blue may
represent blueberry, whereas a more pastel hue suggests
cotton candy.
Food colors allow for batch to batch consistency and can
help compensate for inconsistent ingredient or base colors,
which with fluid milk is a seasonal and regional challenge.
Color may also be used to convey premium ingredients or
nutritional positioning. But possibly the most important role
of color is to trigger flavor expectation.
" Before tasting a food product, our eyes set the stage,
creating a sensory anticipation that extends beyond the
immediate consumption experience, " said Erika Tchang,
head of sales and marketing-US, Sethness Roquette, Skokie,
Ill. " The right hues and color combinations tap into taste
expectations and evoke associations that enhance the overall
enjoyment of dairy products. "
Colors should complement the flavor, unless the product
is intended to be a surprise. Lemon yogurt cannot be pink and
vanilla ice cream should not be blue. Color plays a pivotal
role in shaping taste expectations. A dark-colored chocolate
devil's food cake inclusion in ice cream or yogurt suggests
indulgence. But if it's a washed-out tan color, the decadence
aura fades away.
Sensient Food Colors, St. Louis, Mo., conducted in-person
and online consumer testing to assess the quantitative impact
26 JAN-FEB 2024 | DAIRYPROCESSING.COM
of color on purchase intent, flavor perception and consumer
product liking. The results confirm that color matters.
" Our consumer research shows that optimized color can
improve flavor perception, " said Meghan Skidmore, content
marketing manager at Sensient. " Optimized means that the
color aligns with the flavor profile advertised. For example, a
colorless/white yogurt drink that claimed to have a strawberry
flavor looked less flavorful, less sweet and less appealing to
consumers than a pink yogurt drink. Developers who don't
optimize for color are leaving flavor opportunity on the table. "
Alice Lee, technical marketing manager, GNT USA, LLC,
Dallas, NC, said, " There are also opportunities to play with
flavor expectations, especially in products targeted at kids.
Blue raspberry is a great example because it is now a staple in
many products despite the disparity between color and flavor.
Unexpected colors can create a sense of fun and excitement
in limited edition launches, in particular. "
UNDERSTANDING OPTIONS
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates edible
colorants and classifies them as either " certified colors, "
also known as artificial colors, or " colors exempt from
certification, " which by default has come to mean natural
colors. Certified colors are identified with the prefix FD&C,
which indicates they are certified for use in foods, drugs and
cosmetics. These synthetic colors are made from petroleum
and are valued for their consistency, stability and low cost.
The FDA does not define natural colors and many have
come under scrutiny in recent years. That's because not
all natural colors are created equal. US food and beverage
marketers have taken it upon themselves to communicate the
difference, something that European Union regulations require.
In the EU there are two separate categories of so-called
natural colors: non-artificial additive colors and coloring
foods. The former requires an E number and is defined as
┬ęTatyana Sidyukova-stock.adobe.com
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Dairy Processing - January/February 2024

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Dairy Processing - January/February 2024

Dairy Processing - January/February 2024 - Intro
Dairy Processing - January/February 2024 - FCa
Dairy Processing - January/February 2024 - FCb
Dairy Processing - January/February 2024 - 1
Dairy Processing - January/February 2024 - 2
Dairy Processing - January/February 2024 - 3
Dairy Processing - January/February 2024 - 4
Dairy Processing - January/February 2024 - 5
Dairy Processing - January/February 2024 - 6
Dairy Processing - January/February 2024 - 7
Dairy Processing - January/February 2024 - 8
Dairy Processing - January/February 2024 - 9
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Dairy Processing - January/February 2024 - 12
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