Chromologics addresses natural colors challenges with precision fermentation

18 Jun 2021

Danish food coloring technology company, Chromologics is developing a platform to address the lack of variety in the high-performance, animal-free, sustainable food colorings market. Its first foray into the space is with the color red, and the company has developed a proprietary plant-based version is called ChromoRed.

Natural reds are typically from a source called carmine, which derived from the shells of beetles and insects that are crushed for color. However, this choice is not suitable for all consumers, particularly those following vegan diets. While there are various plant-based reds available on the market, current alternatives though do not always provide the same vibrant red as they lack solubility or are temperature sensitive. Furthermore, the biggest barrier in the development of a widespread, plant-based red is price.

Chromologics addresses natural colors challenges with precision fermentation

In 2011, the natural colorings market overtook the synthetic colors market in terms of size, according to Mintel data. Since then, the market has continued to grow, but the options for natural food colorings have remained pricey. Experts cited in the Chicago Tribune have claimed that due to a lack of hue vibrancy as well as ingredient price, using natural food dyes can cost tenfold the price of a synthetic equivalent.

Chromologics is looking to change that narrative through precision fermentation. Representatives from the company told Food Navigator that this approach is “scalable [and] cost competitive.”

In its quest to become the market leader in natural color solutions, Chromologics relies on fungal fermentation to produce a colorant that does not contain any allergy-triggering protein residues and is pH as well as temperature stable. The research startup’s red also does not have any taste or odor and is water-soluble, making it suitable for a wide range of applications.

With an effective and colorful technology in hand, this Danish startup is working on gaining regulatory approval for the use of its natural colors in the U.S. and Europe. While approval is still in process, Chromologics is using its recent €1.9 million ($2.3 million) in seed round funding to accelerate its growth efforts, which includes not only bringing its ChromoRed to market as fast as possible but also working on additional natural coloring solutions to increase its portfolio of innovative, sustainable offerings. Representatives from the company told Food Navigator that they eventually envision “adding other colors of the rainbow.”

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