According to SternChemie, health, convenience and sustainability are key trends in the food market, which researchers expect to continue to gain in importance - so it’s no wonder that more and more manufacturers are advertising their products as “free of preservatives, food colouring and artificial flavours.”
Consumers are, said the company, paying more attention to what they buy, and to the ingredients. But since the appearance of a food product is very important in the purchase decision, clean label colourants are increasingfly in demand.
“As consumer health awareness grows, our customers are more and more interested in red palm oil,” said Michael Scheinert, product manager at lipids specialist Sternchemie.
The natural, vitamin-rich oil gives many different foods a golden-yellow to orange-red colour.
Food colour is a subject that underscores a major sales factor in food – enjoyment, said SternChemie; eating is a sensual experience involving sight as well as taste. Grey margarines, white vanilla pudding, or pale crisps or chips would not be popular with consumers.
Red palm oil makes it possible to combine enjoyment and health. The oil is derived from the flesh of palm fruits, whose high carotene content gives them an intensive red colour.
“Our SternRed palm oil is refined by a patented physical process, which lets our cooperation partner in Malaysia produce a virgin palm oil that is free of chemical additives,” continued Scheinert.
Since the process takes place at low temperatures, the oil is claimed to retain its high levels of carotenoids and vitamin E complexes, which also have a positive influence on the shelf-life. As natural antioxidants, the vitamins protect the oil from going rancid, so that it keeps longer. Another plus, according to the company, is that the gentle processing means that SternRed has no trans fats.
This red palm oil is colour and heat-stable, flavour-neutral, and SternChemie says that it can be used as a problem-free substitute for synthetic colourings like beta-carotene. It is also claimed to offer price advantages over other colorant ingredients like carrot extract.
When used for deep-frying it gives crisps and chips a golden-yellow colouring. It also gives an appetising colour to cakes and biscuits, desserts, ready meals and pasta, margarines, mayonnaise and dressings. The big advantage, according to the company, is that red palm oil need only be declared in the ingredients as vegetable oil, making it very declaration-friendly.