Market shifts challenging ingredient suppliers

The rapid pace of change in technology and consumer preferences is having a dramatic effect on food and beverage ingredient research and development.

“Today, 75% to 80% of new products contain natural colors, but only about a third of the market is natural colors,” said Paul Manning, chief executive officer of Sensient Technologies, Milwaukee. “We’re seeing brands that have been around for many, many years using more natural ingredients.” Mr. Manning finds his business at an intersection between meeting the need for ingredients perceived as natural and embracing new technologies that allow the company to grow and expand. In early July, Sensient acquired Mazza Innovation Ltd., Vancouver, B.C., a plant-extraction company. “They have a total water-based extraction process,” he said. “We’ve been using that technology in our cosmetic business, and it has applicability for natural colors using only water. Same thing for flavors or extracts that use (a) water extraction process.”

Mr. Manning predicted that more plant extracts will be used as a part of flavor development due to the ingredients’ favorable label declaration.

“For example, we’re seeing extracts as the flavor or an element of the flavor,” he said. “What is really neat about it is you can have traceability from seed to the shelf. It really bolsters the product, the supply chain. It offers a nice label, a clean label with an ingredient from an entirely natural product.”

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