From artificial to natural, the food industry makes a major shift

Feb 12, 2014

Extracts from algae, rosemary and monk fruit could soon replace synthetic ingredients and food additives such as Blue No. 1, BHT and aspartame that label-conscious grocery shoppers are increasingly shunning. Research is enabling this shift from artificial colors, sweeteners and preservatives to naturally derived ones, and could soon yield many more natural options, reports Chemical & Engineering News, the weekly newsmagazine of the American Chemical Society.

Melody M. Bomgardner, senior editor at C&EN, notes that the trend has built momentum as concern over negative health effects of artificial ingredients and additives grows. Recent studies have suggested a link between some artificial colorings and hyperactivity in children. Others have suggested that certain synthetic may cause cancer in rodents. These results are sinking into the consumer psyche. By 2013, almost a quarter of U.S. consumers reported that they read food labels to check for artificial colors and flavors. That's 15 percent more than the year before. In Europe, regulations spurred a faster changeover and have largely driven the dramatic shift in global sales toward natural colors. In the $1.5 billion market, growth of the latter has overtaken synthetics, which have plateaued.

Now many food manufacturers are turning to colors derived from foods, such as turmeric; to new fermentation routes for natural yellows, reds and purple dyes; and to rosemary and monk fruit as a preservative and , respectively, the article states. Natural green and blue food colorings are harder to come by, but researchers are finding sources for these as well. Last summer, M&Ms candy maker Mars got the OK from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to color their blue treats with an extract from blue-green . Scientists are also investigating new natural ways to preserve meat, produce vanilla and sweeten foods without the calories.

Explore further: In US, 'natural' food may be anything but

More information: "The New Naturals" cen.acs.org/articles/92/i6/New-Naturals.html

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

In US, 'natural' food may be anything but

Feb 05, 2014

In the United States, pre-packaged foods loaded with artificial ingredients and chemicals can make it onto grocery store shelves boasting the label "natural."

Do diet changes help ADHD children?

May 30, 2013

Dylan Jerrell was having a tough time in kindergarten. The energetic, outgoing Bigfoot fan was easily frustrated, and he responded to challenges with disruptive meltdowns. He wouldn't hit anyone, but he'd break down and cry ...

Do synthetic food colors cause hyperactivity?

Jan 06, 2011

Food coloring is the reason glace cherries are red rather than beige and that children's tongues sometimes appear freakishly blue. But man-made dyes may do more than make processed food look vibrant and whimsical. Some blame ...

When the fat comes out of food, what goes in?

Nov 02, 2011

When fat, sugar and gluten come out of salad dressings, sauces, cookies, beverages, and other foods with the new genre of package labels shouting what's not there, what goes into "light" or "-free" versions of products to ...

Recommended for you

Free pores for molecule transport

3 hours ago

Metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) can take up gases similar to a sponge that soaks up liquids. Hence, these highly porous materials are suited for storing hydrogen or greenhouse gases. However, loading of many ...

User comments : 0