The Germany company said it collaborated with extrusion technology specialists Extrufood to overcome the technical challenges associated with using natural colours in extrusion products, as a result of growing industry demand.
Wild said the natural extrusion-stable colours, sourced from "fruits and vegetables” cover a spectrum ranging from green to yellow, orange, red and brown: “Depending on the colour, they withstand temperatures ranging from 80°C up to 135°C."
Application areas for the colours, said the supplier, include various kinds of extruded confectionery such as chewing gums or candy rolls.
Artificial colours are typically used in extruded products as they can “withstand the extrusion process a lot easier than natural ones," explained Wild.
In the extrusion process, the base is evenly pushed or drawn through a die under high pressure and extremely high temperature. Therefore, colours primarily need to be bake-stable and withstand high temperatures.
Using natural colours is this way is extremely complex because of their sensitivity to heat, light oxygen and pH-value and the way they interact with each other, said the supplier.
A spokesperson for the company told this publication that product variation using the new extrusion-stable colours is assured as the colours can either be completely separated or can be designed to run into each other.
The teaming up with Extrufood, added the German supplier, meant that it was able to simulate how its natural colours would perform within the finished extruded product “under industrial conditions.”
The spokesperson said that confectioners wishing to incorporate the natural colours into their extruded products will not have to upgrade their extrusion lines.
The company also intends to extend the range, said the spokesperson, adding that Wild will tap "new natural sources for colours."
Switch to natural
The food industry, prompted by the fallout from the 2007 Southampton Study and EU regulation that followed, has been steadily shifting from synthetically-derived colours to ‘natural’ ones but the increasing use of natural alternatives has generated a raft of reformation and technical challenges.
Extruded confectioneries traditionally rely on a range of colours to make them appealing to children but are highly affected, maintains Wild, by the July 2010 EC labelling directive whereby products using certain artificial colours now must carry warning labels.
In Western Europe, natural and synthetically-derived nature-identical colours have grown in value by 7.5 per cent annually.
By contrast, the synthetic colours market has fallen by 2 per cent a year and seems set to lose its current dominance in the next few years, according to a report from Leatherhead Food Research (LFR).
Innova Market Insights listed the top 10 colours used in new products in Europe in 2010.
By far the most popular were beta-carotene used for orange and yellow colours and curcumin, or turmeric (yellow). Both can be applied using natural processes. Curcumin can be labelled by name, depending on extraction method.