Ice cream is addictive. It is one dessert that no one can say no to, from a toddler to a senior. And, what’s not to like? They are cold, creamy, flavorful and colourful. Ice cream is not just limited to cups and cones anymore; they have found a way to become fancier by fitting into gourmet delicacies like a sizzling hot brownie with ice cream, darsaan with ice cream, ice cream cakes, ice cream rolls, ice cream sandwiches and so on. But today’s consumers are savvy. They choose ice creams after scrutiny of the labels. Are they vegan? Are they healthy? Are they natural? These are some of the questions ice cream lovers ask before they take a lick. But a new question has been added to that list: Do they use natural food colours?
Perhaps, the deciding factor when we are at an ice cream parlour, trying to choose from a dozen ice cream choices, is its colour. People love to pick ice cream basis how they look. This could be why flavours like mint choco chips, matcha, bubblegum ice creams, etc., are so popular. But, while the experimentation continues, the need for a clean lable remains unshakable. Hence, the ice cream industry is poised to make a ‘natural shift’ regarding its colourants.
Let’s break down why the ice cream industry is in dire need of making this shift other than the fact that consumers prefer it. According to Mintel, as little as 3% of ice cream and frozen desserts launched in Europe in the last five years contain artificial colours. But when the limelight is on India, it has been noticed that a staggering 66% of ice creams and frozen desserts contain artificial colours. This figure makes it pretty evident what’s coming and what should be the way forward.
Formulating food and beverages with natural food colours comes with specific challenges, some of them are,
The above challenges are dispensable when formulating ice creams with natural food colours. Making the natural shift, therefore, becomes easier and stress-free.
Embrace The Perks
High Temperature: Even though the ice cream manufacturing process involves high temperatures, colour can be added after the heating phase. This adaptability makes way for the least amount of colour degradation.
pH: Ice creams we enjoy possess a neutral pH. Almost all-natural food colourants are suitable for ice cream formulation, and the results are appetisingly good-looking ice creams in a wide range of vibrant shades.
Packaging: Ice cream demands fancy packaging, especially because its consumers may be young. Today’s ice cream packaging is in an opaque tub format, which is already favourable for natural food colours. This discourages light penetration preserving the natural colours.
Storage: Ice cream is stored in refrigerators up until the point of consumption. They are stored in chillers in shops, supermarkets and even during transport from factories to their destinations. Lower temperatures are favourable for natural colours, and because of the very nature of ice creams, they are always stored in lower temperatures which helps them retain their vibrancy throughout their shelf life.
The most important reason ice cream makers should consider making the natural shift is the ease of availability of natural colours. To top that off, there’s a wide variety of shades to choose from which are cost-effective, which means one can always keep up with the ever-rising demands of naturally coloured ice creams and command a premium price for offering something that is futuristic.
Trust Symega to be your partner for creating ice creams that are naturally beautiful. With our years of experience, technical expertise, problem-solving skills and vibrant spectrum of shades to choose from, you can always stay ahead of the market and be on your consumers’ minds.
Mr. George Paul, Business Head – Natural Food Colours, SYMEGA Food Ingredients Ltd