Retail food and drink trends

The trends adding new shades of colour to beverages

Article 2.5 min read


Bookmark this story

The beverage category continues to evolve and so does its use of colour to enhance beverage products. Christiane Lippert discusses the trends and challenges shaping the space.

Clean expectations

Clean-label has become a standard consumer expectation and around 80 per cent of consumers seek information about a product’s ingredients before making purchase decisions as part of their quest for healthier products. As a result, manufacturers across the industry are producing and reformulating products with simpler, more natural ingredients, including colour ingredients[1].

Strong and stable

Beverage colour: an image of the Lycored logo

When selecting a natural beverage colouring, a high level of stability is key to an extended shelf life of up to 12 months while also maintaining a beverage’s visual appeal and helping to represent the expected flavour by staying true to fruit. Colours that stay bright and vibrant are particularly important when a recipe has been changed as they maintain the ‘tastes good’ appeal even where there may be less sugar or sweeteners. Avoiding ringing, sedimentation and off-colour in fruit pulp are also key considerations. Fortified or functional beverages can also come with additional challenges such as high levels of ascorbic acid or other functional ingredients. Lycored`s range of shades are synergistic with ascorbic acid, which supports user friendly product development.

The use of highly stable colours in beverage formulation can be helpful in allowing use of transparent glass or PET for chiller cabinet placement, where in the past packaging sleeves may have been necessary to prevent fade due to intense light exposure.

Authentic and from nature

The use of natural and authentic ingredients is a central concern for consumers but depending on the product category within the beverage segment, there are also other important factors. Products that are environmentally and ethically friendly are also high on consumers’ agendas. There has been increasing popularity in plant based and botanical ingredients, particularly interesting hybrids. In the US market, dollar spend in RTD plant-based beverages increased between 2017 and 2019 by a whopping 39%[2].

Staying true to fruit

The appeal of fruit-based flavours and associated colours continue to be popular. Mintel reported[3] growing consumer interest in drinks with berry and other red or pink hued fruit flavours such as watermelon, pink grapefruit, blood orange, raspberry, pomegranate and rhubarb type mixes.

Colours can also be used to create new unique colour shades that stand out on shelves and Lycored’s portfolio offers unique shades to represent trendy fruit or flavour types with authenticity.

The cast of colour shades vary from gold, yellow, orange to pink and red, so can also be great alternatives to less attractive synthetic sources.

Lycored offers a palette of naturally sourced, backward integrated super-stable colour solutions based on Lycopene and Beta-carotene for use in multiple applications including beverages.

Our recent beverage stability research highlights how many of our range can offer shelf life of up to 12 months for many shade alternatives, without ringing or sedimentation. The range offers cloudy options (eliminating need for cloudifiers) or clear alternatives.

To find out more about which of our colour shades could work for your beverage product, try out the HueFinder colour matching tool here.

Sponsored by Lycored

1 FMI LI Transparency Imperative Report
2 GFI, State of Industry Report, Plant-based meat, eggs, dairy 2019
3 Mintel, Flavors to watch report

Related articles:

Plant-based colours are a natural choice for plant-based meat alternatives
Manage your food waste with funding available from FareShare
A circular economy for a better food system?