Plant-based food colors are natural colors that are made by plant-based materials such as carrot, turmeric, beetroot, and kale, among others. Manufacturers of food ingredients are focusing on plant-based food colors owing to the increasing consumers' demand for natural and organic food products. Players operating in this market are consistently searching for a new plant source to develop vibrant colors to meet the increasing demand for natural and plant-based colors in the food processing industry. The increasing demand for plant-based products, increasing vegan trend, increasing clean label products consumption, growing health consciousness, inclination toward environment-friendly products is some of the factors expected to drive the plant-based foods market. However, limited options of colors available, reaction with other ingredients, change occurring when mixed with various food products, shorter shelf life, and high production costs are major restraints of the market.
The demand for plant-based products is increasing across the globe owing to the rapidly growing health-conscious population, increasing veganism, increasing organic products demand, among others. People are opting for plant-based food products as they are natural and healthier than chemically modified food products. According to “The Good Food Institute, Inc.”, the sales of plant-based food products grew 11% in 2019 compared to the previous year.
The high production cost of plant-based food colors is expected to hinder the market in the near future. One of the significant factors for synthetic and artificial colors demand is the low production cost compared to the plant-based food colors. The high production cost of plant-based food colors makes them expensive than synthetic colors. The synthetic colors can be produced on a large scale as it does not require harvesting and processing, whereas plant-based food colors cannot be produced on a large scale as they require harvesting and processing for production. Synthetic colors have a longer shelf life compared to plant-based food colors. Synthetic colors are best suited to the packaged foods and last long whereas plant-based food colors work well with certain perishable food products.
The food ingredients manufacturers are developing vibrant colors. In recent years, shades of purple in food items are gaining popularity. Various varieties of sweet potatoes and yams are being used by food ingredient manufacturers to develop numerous shades. Sweet potatoes are used to develop colors such as red, purple, yellow, white, brown, orange, and others. A new variety of sweet potato, Hansen sweet potato™ can give bright red color similar to the color provided by Carmine. Purple sweet potato or Okinawan sweet potato that contains Anthocyanin is another variety of sweet potato that is used to produce purple shades.
Based on product type, the plant-based food colors market has been segmented into Carotenoid, Anthocyanin, Chlorophyll, Annatto, Paprika Extract, Spirulina Extract, Turmeric, Beet, and others. Among these types, the Carotenoid is extensively used in making food colors such as yellow, red, and orange. The demand for the product is high in the bakery and confectionery products. The second most demanding plant-based ingredient for color making is spirulina. It is used to meet the demand for natural green color and blue shades for application in beverages, bakery, and confectionery products. In March 2019, NATUREX has tripled its production capacity of Spirulina and launched the “Ultimate Spirulina” collection. The newly launched Ultimate Spirulina offers fully natural and clean green and blue formulations.
Based on form, the global plant-based food colors market has been segmented into liquid and powder. The demand for powder colors is more owing to their several benefits, such as they have a longer shelf life, they are stronger in color as they have a higher degree of an active agent than liquid. Powder food color produces the deepest and ultra-dark level of color, whereas liquid food color produces the softest level of color.
Europe is expected to dominate the plant-based food colors market. This can be attributed to the huge food and beverage industry in the region. According to Eurostat, the food and beverage industry is the largest sector in the EU, and in 2016, the industry employed more than 4.3 million people. In addition to this, the presence of a highly health-conscious population in the region is another major factor that will fuel the demand for plant-based food colors in the European market. Europe has the highest vegan population that consumes only plant-based food products. These factors are significantly impacting the plant-based food colors market in the region.
North America is expected to be the second-largest market for the plant-based food colors market. This is due to the increasing awareness regarding health hazards associated with artificial food colors. In 2019, the FDA has prohibited the use of Tartrazine (an artificial food color used in various food products) in various foods and beverages as it contains some carcinogenic contents. Consumers, as well as manufacturers in the U.S., are opting for natural and plant-based food colors. Also, the growing popularity of colorful foods among millennials is expected to drive the plant-based food colors market in North America.
The players operating in the global plant-based food colors market is consistently applying differential strategies to resist in the competitive market. Companies are launching new products, doing acquisitions, and mergers with other companies to increase their regional footprint and to enhance their existing product portfolio.