Article: The Right Color, and New Twists on Dairy -- November 2009
Color and Applications in Confectionery Technology
Color is important in foods for adding attractiveness to products. Products are identified and differentiated by color, and it affects flavor perception. For example, yellow color is perceived as lemon flavor. Studies also have shown that there is a 10% increased sweetness perception, when coloring fruit-flavored beverages with deeper red colors, according to Aminah Lewis, regional technical manager, Colorcon, in a presentation titled, “Color and Applications in Confectionery Technology.” Adding color provides a colorful identity to foods that are otherwise colorless, such as strawberry ice cream and lime sherbet. Adding color can correct natural variations in pigmentation, but masking inferior quality is unacceptable.
The FDA states a color additive is any dye, pigment or substance that can impart color when added or applied to a food, drug, cosmetic or to the human body. Color types include certified colors that are man-made, such as FD&C lakes and dyes. These colors are certified for safety, quality, consistency and strength and have the best heat, pH and light stability.
Exempt colors include curcumin, carmine, riboflavin, anthocyanin, caramel, annatto extract, beet powder, beta-carotene, fruit and vegetable juices, lycopene and titanium dioxide. These colorants generally have low heat-, light- and pH-stability, with the exception of carmine. Exempt colors often are more expensive, have less coloring power, may impact taste and may be less consistent. However, their labeling is typically more desirable. Although “artificial color” and “artificial color added” are acceptable label options for exempt colors, manufacturers usually prefer options such as “color added,” “colored with (color name),” “(name of color) color” and “spice and coloring.” Certified colors labeled as “FD&C” or “No.” also are an option. A “lake” declaration is mandatory, and lakes and dyes must be declared individually.
Colors are typically added via carriers. The application and colorant dictate the best carrier. Compatibility is key. Water, propylene glycol, glycerine, sugar syrup and oil are carrier options. Water as a carrier has general applications in non-chocolate candies, such as jellies, gummies, water and fondant-based creams. Water is also used in flavoring syrups, icings and non-sweet, water-based foods.
Oil is a good color carrier in confectionery coatings, baking chips, fat-based inclusions and creams, snack foods and other fat-based products. Propylene glycol or glycerin is used for color in printing on cookies, hard candy, taffy, chewing gum and other humectant-containing foods.
Interactions with flavor carriers can cause challenges, when color is added to flavor, or flavor and color are added to products at the same time. Interactions also can occur, during freezing or refrigeration. Color uniformity issues occur when color is not dispersed properly or an improper carrier or colorant is used. Solutions can range from increasing mixing time to using more stable colorants to re-examining the formulation for compatibility.
If a color is too light or fading, it may be due to low usage levels, or light, heat or pH degradation. Increasing the amount of color used and using a more stable colorant (or, if using dyes, switching to lakes) can help. Changing the point of color addition in the process to minimize exposure of color may also help.
When color is too dull, it can be because of background color interference or too much color in the product. Minimizing the background color from other ingredients and decreasing the colorant amount are good starting points.
Special considerations for color selection include price, regulatory compliance and ingredient compatibility. Proper manufacturing procedures guarantee the best product color. Many special effects can be achieved with color alone, including the newest addition to approved colors, the pearlescent colors.
“Color and Applications in Confectionery Technology,” Aminah Lewis, regional technical manager, Colorcon, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.colorcon.com
--Summary by Elizabeth Mannie, Contributing Editor
Savory Flavors in Dairy Products
Dairy products are perceived as inherently healthy, fresh and natural, as well as excellent canvases for flavor pairings. The health trend has brought about many varieties of dairy products, including fluid, cheese, cultured and frozen, and those containing omega-3s, probiotics and plant sterols, among other nutrients. Consumers of these products include children, teens, moms and aging Baby Boomers.
Dairy industry leaders are being forced to look to global markets to increase market share and profitability. Dairy export volume grew 24% last year, and if production growth continues to exceed domestic consumption, exports will become increasingly important to the ongoing profitability of the U.S. dairy sector, according to Paula Grabow, Vegetable Juices Inc., in a presentation titled, “Savory Bravery: A New Vision for Dairy Products.”
Dairy as a canvas has been traditionally sweet, up until now. But, as global cuisines become more evident, spiciness and savory flavors or savory/sweet combinations have shown increases in demand. For example, in Portugal, a product with a spicy blend of chocolate chips, strawberries and chili peppers was recently launched.
The top 10 functional foods place vegetables in first place and dairy foods in third. Successful combinations of vegetables and dairy, with spicy savory flavors, are starting to pop up.
The top considerations for vegetable flavors or inclusions in a dairy environment would be pH, viscosity/density, microbial growth, type of product, size of particulates, freshness of ingredients, flavor interactions and salt levels. Products like juices, purees, dices, blends, sauces and dehydrated vegetables can pose viable options for use in dairy products. For example, micro-activity in a brined vegetable system is stabilized in a neutral pH range of 5-6. Juices can be used for natural flavor in beverages and drinkable yogurts. Purees add flavor, texture and mouthfeel to sauces and yogurts, and dices are great for particulate identity in cream cheeses and spreads.
Current typical flavor combination ideas include garden vegetable cream cheese, Greek-style yogurt sauces, garlic-and-herb cheese spreads and onion-and-chive sour cream. Newer flavor combinations are becoming much bolder and spicier.
International trends include cucumber, caramelized onion/garlic, chili pairings, lemongrass and fruit, and curry dairy dips. Some suggestions for new products might include a lemongrass apple cream cheese, cocoa ginger cream cheese, chipotle chocolate sauce, Thai chili curry dip or a chipotle-tomato savory yogurt. Others might include ice cream with chocolate and chipotle, sorbets with lemongrass and ginger, yogurt with vegetable purees or dairy-based sauces with spicy, bold flavors.
Dairy flavors for the future are expected to be bold. The challenge is for the dairy industry to move out of its comfort zone and encourage consumers to see dairy products as more adventuresome. pf
“Savory Bravery: A New Vision for Dairy Products,” Paula Grabow, presenter; contact: Jeff Wells, Vegetable Juices Inc., email@example.com, www.vegetablejuices.com
--Summary by Elizabeth Mannie, Contributing Editor