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 6,759

Natural Red Food Color

Seeking a proprietary, clean label, red food color that meets consumer preferences and food industry requirements. Read Overview...
Overview

The Problem

When colorants are needed in the formulation of a new or reformulated food or beverage, synthetic colors are now seldom used. Once praised for their cost effectiveness, aesthetic appeal, ease of use and high stability, synthetic colors are now largely being replaced by natural colors. This is due, by and large, to a convergence of two trends.

First, there is a growing belief, disputed by most reputable scientists and FDA that synthetic colors contribute to ADHD in children. This belief was given additional credence in 2007 with the highly publicized “Southampton Study” in which a link was reported between six synthetic colorants and ADHD in children. Second, the general “health and wellness” trend emphasizing natural and wholesome foods. As the food industry worked to capitalize on this trend, the lack of a legal definition of “natural” came to play and redirected the efforts toward “clean labeling.”

“Clean Label” is an ambiguous term describing an approach used by the food industry to avoid making the “natural” claims which have proven to be difficult to legally defend. A clean label approach utilizes a limited number of recognizable ingredients to convey a “natural” message without explicitly stating it. Naturally sourced ingredients are the norm, but not every natural ingredient aligns with consumers’ desires. In the case of colors, carmine (insect-derived), caramel (carcinogen link) and titanium dioxide (mineral-sourced) are a few examples of natural colors that would not be considered appropriate for most “clean label” foods.

In general, naturally-sourced colorants, while gaining market share, exhibit limited stability. Additionally, they can contribute off-tastes and much higher cost-in-use than a synthetic color. Possibly the most important drawback, the palette of available shades is insufficient to meet the needs of the food industry.

Red is the most popular shade for foods and beverages.  Consequently red colorants represent the single largest market segment.  But there is currently no FDA-approved, "clean label", red food color that meets the broad needs of the food industry. Beet juice lacks stability in heat processed foods and in high water activity products. Carmine and the carotenoids are not “clean-label” and anthocyanins (fruit and vegetable juices) work only in low pH systems and fade unacceptably in the presence of ascorbic acid, a common beverage ingredient. 

THERE IS A NEED FOR AN ATTRACTIVE, "CLEAN LABEL", STABLE, COST-EFFECTIVE RED FOOD COLOR, especially for some of the more difficult applications- baked goods, cereals, pet foods and dairy. 

Potential Problem-Solving Pathways (Non-Exhaustive)

  1. Identification of a new source for an existing FDA-approved colorant, most likely a non-commercialized juice from an edible fruit or vegetable, as per 21CFR 73.250 & 73.260.
  2. PHYSICAL modification of an existing FDA-approved colorant, e.g., encapsulation, emulsification, drying, concentration, adsorption, extension, etc. 
    NOTE: changes in the CHEMICAL nature of the colorant would negate any prior toxicity studies and, therefore, almost certainly require FDA approval via the submission of a Color Additive Petition.
  3. Submission of a Color Additive Petition to FDA to gain approval of a colorant not currently approved for use in foods and beverages.
  4. Selective breeding and/or improved agricultural practices of source crops to improve color, reduce cost, increase availability, improve sustainability, etc.

The Challenge Breakthrough

Viveri Food Colors, a division of the Day-Glo Color Group, is committed to identifying and providing both the consumer and the food industry with a significant improvement to the current supply, selection, quality and performance properties of “clean label” red food colorants.

What You Can Do To Cause A Breakthrough

  • Click "Follow the Challenge" above to be notified of any status updates to the challenge.
  • Click "Yes Sign Me Up!" above to register for the challenge. You will be notified of any status updates and be able to create an entry to the challenge when it opens.
  • Click on the "Share" button or social media icons above to share this challenge with your friends, your family, or anyone you know who has a passion for discovery.

Leave a comment in our Comments Thread to join the conversation, ask questions or connect with other innovators.

 

Additional rules

Who can participate:
The Challenge is open to all individuals and teams.  To be eligible to compete, you must comply with all the terms of the Challenge as defined in the Challenge-Specific Agreement.

Selection of Winner:

1. Solutions will be tested and measured against FD&C Red No. 40 by Day-Glo Color Group with additional, selected external testing regarding market acceptance.

2. The winning solution will be paid $100,000 upon completion of a successful proof of concept by the Day-Glo Color Group.  If the winning solution requires a Color Additive Petition (CAP), the award will be paid in two installments: Installment One of $50,000 will be paid upon the completion of a successful proof of concept.  Installment Two of $50,000 will be paid upon FDA approval of the CAP.

DETAILS: Many of the judging criteria will be on a relative basis.  No absolute target value can be given other than to say that the goal is to identify a colorant that performs at least as well as FD&C Red #40 in the most possible attributes- safety, appearance, performance, cost, consumer acceptance, etc.  Commercially feasible concepts that do not win the main award may still be eligible for awards of lesser amounts at the sole discretion of the Day-Glo Color Group. 

Judging: submissions will be evaluated based on the combined commercial value of the individual parameters rather than on the accumulated points. Refer to GUIDELINES for specifics. 

Any competitor misrepresenting their results will be automatically disqualified from the challenge.

Registration and Submissions:
Registrations must be completed by Midnight MST, May 1, 2016 to be eligible for the prize. No registrations will be accepted after this date and no changes to Teams may be made after this date.

All submission materials must be submitted online on or before Midnight MST, Sept 1, 2016. No submissions will be accepted after this time. Incomplete submissions will not be accepted. All submissions must be received online, via the Challenge website, and all uploads can be in PDF format only. Submission reporting requirements are detailed in Judging.

Challenge Guidelines are subject to change. Registered competitors will receive notification when changes are made, however, we highly encourage you to visit the Challenge Site often to review updates.

Guidelines
Timeline
Updates 3
Forum
Community 113
Resources
FAQ

Yes.  To be eligible to compete, you must comply with all the terms of the Challenge as defined in the Challenge-Specific Agreement.

The term "natural color" is a commonly used term within the US food industry to reference color additives which are exempt from FDA certification and which are regulated in the Code of Federal Regulations (21 CFR 73 Subpart A). These colorants typically exist in nature and are sourced from animal, vegetable or mineral sources or they can be synthetically produced duplicates. 

NOTE:  FDA considers any colorant that is artifically introduced to a food to be an artificial color and, therefore, does not allow the term "natural color" on the label of a food or beverage.  Further, although FDA has not established a legal definition of the term "natural", they have stated that no food can be labeled as such if it contains an added colorant.  Therefore, this challenge is for a "clean label" colorant. 

“Clean Label” is an ambiguous term describing an approach used by the food industry to avoid making the “natural” claims which have proven difficult to legally defend.

A clean label approach utilizes a limited number of recognizable ingredients to convey a “natural” message without explicitly stating it. Naturally sourced ingredients are the norm, but not every natural ingredient aligns with consumers’ desires. In the case of colors, carmine (insect-derived), caramel (carcinogen link) and titanium dioxide (unrecognizable name) are a few examples of natural colors that would not be considered appropriate for most “clean label” foods.

A Color Additive Petition is the formal process by which an interested party can request FDA approval for a new colorant or for the expanded use of an existing colorant. If, upon evaluation of the data in the petition, the FDA finds that the proposed color additive is safe and suitable for the intended use, as described in 21CFR Part 71, then a regulation would be promulgated, thereby listing the color additive for such use. For more information, please refer to http://www.fda.gov/ForIndustry/ColorAdditives/ColorAdditiveInventories/ucm115641.htm#table1A

Certainly.  While some criteria MUST be met, submissions will be judged based on their overall value to the market.   Additionally, commercially feasible concepts that do not win the major award may be considered for lesser awards, 

Light. Prepare samples of the reference and your submission in a commercially available carbonated soft drink. We will be using 7-Up in our evaluation.

The reference sample should contain FD&C Red #40 at 60ppm. The test sample should contain a sufficient level of your submission to visually approximate the intensity of the reference. If you have access to a spectrophotometer, measure and record the absorbance of the beverages (350-700 nm).

Seal the beverages in clear glass containers with a minimum of head space. Expose both beverages to daylight until one has noticeably faded. Depending upon the intensity of the sunlight, this can happen in a matter of hours. Record and report the exposure time and any other pertinent observations. If you have access to a spectrophotometer, measure and report the degree of color loss.

Before and after photos are required.

 

Heat. Prepare samples of the reference and your submission in a commercially available white cake mix.

The reference sample should contain FD&C Red #40 at 100ppm. The test sample should contain a sufficient level of your submission to visually approximate the intensity of the reference.

Bake the cakes sidexside according to the package directions. After cooling, record the results by slicing the cakes and photographing the two cross sections in a single image.

 

pH. Many colorants, especially fruit and vegetable juice, exhibit variation of shade and stability over the pH range encountered in foods and beverages.  It is, therefore, important to screen your submission for this trait.

Recognizing that not all participants will have access to a fully equipped lab, we offer two methods for testing.  

In either method, prepare samples of the reference and your submission for comparison.   

The reference samples should contain FD&C Red #40 at 60ppm. The test samples should contain a sufficient level of your submission to visually approximate the intensity of the reference. If you have access to a spectrophotometer, measure and record the absorbance/reflectance of the beverages (350-700 nm).

Seal the solutions in clear glass containers with a minimum of head space. Store the samples at room temperature (refrigerate any milk-based samples), protected from light. Check periodically until one in each group has noticeably faded or two weeks have passed.

Record and report the elapsed time and any other pertinent observations. If you have access to a spectrophotometer, measure and report the degree of color loss.

Before and after photos are required.

Method 1)

Prepare samples using pH buffers of 3, 5, 7 and 8.

Method 2)

For a pH of ~3.2, use a commerically available carbonated lemon-lime soft drink.  We suggest 7-UP.

For a pH of ~6.6, use fresh, whole milk. 

For a pH of ~8.3 use a solution of baking soda in purified water.  Use ~3 grams (1/2 tsp) of baking soda per litre (~ 1 qt) of water.  Exact measurements are not necessary.

 

Ascorbic Acid. Prepare samples of the reference and your submission in purified water at pH 3.0 with 250ppm of ascorbic acid.

The reference sample should contain FD&C Red #40 at 60ppm. The test sample should contain a sufficient level of your submission to visually approximate the intensity of the reference. If you have access to a spectrophotometer, measure and record the absorbance of the beverages (350-700 nm).

Seal the solutions in clear glass containers with a minimum of head space. Store the samples at room temperature, protected from light.

Check periodically until one has noticeably faded or two weeks have passed. Record and report the elapsed time and any other pertinent observations. If you have access to a spectrophotometer, measure and report the degree of color loss.

Before and after photos are required.

 

Flavor. Prepare samples of the reference and your submission in 10% sucrose syrup.

The reference sample should contain FD&C Red #40 at 100ppm. The test sample should contain a sufficient level of your submission to visually approximate the intensity of the reference.

Taste the samples and describe any difference in flavor. Use as many “tasters” as practical.

Any batch of  FD&C Red #40 which is used in the evaluations must be identified by its FDA certified lot number.  

If you are unable to procur a certified sample, contact the Day-Glo Color Group via this Challenge page and a sample will be provided. 

Title 21 is the portion of the Code of Federal Regulations that governs food and drugs within the United States for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), and the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP).

For FDA regulated colors, please see

http://www.fda.gov/ForIndustry/ColorAdditives/ColorAdditiveInventories/ucm115641.htm#table1A

 

For our purposes, "cost-in-use" is a term used to describe the relative cost of using a food colorant. 

For example, if it requires 300ppm of your submission to approximate the visual intensity of FD&C Red #40 at 60ppm; and your submission would cost the food processor $25/lb versus FD&C Red #40 at $15/lb, the C.I.U. comparison is-

300ppm/60ppm x $25/$15 = 8.3

Your submission has a C.I.U of 8.3X FD&C Red #40

 

NOTE: For your calculations, please use $15.00/lb as the market price for FD&C Red #40