GERMANY – Oterra, formerly known as Chr. Hansen Natural Colors A/S, has signed a transactional agreement with German flavour and fragrance company Symrise, to acquire its natural food coloring business, Diana Food’s.

Following the completion of the transaction, Oterra will fully integrate Diana Food’s natural coloring business into its world class offering.

This is the second acquisition in a short period of time for Oterra since its acquisition by private equity firm EQT and becoming a standalone company.

In June this year, the food ingredients company acquired SECNA Natural Ingredients Group S.L, gaining its pigment portfolio, which includes anthocyanins from black carrots and grape.

For Oterra CEO, Odd Erik Hansen, these acquisitions are a vital part of the company’s strong growth ambitions.

“Consumers these days know what they want, and all research shows that the demand for natural food colours continues to grow strongly.

“The market is expected to reach US $3.2 billion by 2027 – and adding companies with complementary strengths and offering to our business will enable us to best help our customers on their journey towards natural,” said Hansen.

The absorption of SECNA, and Diana Food’s natural coloring business, cements Oterra’s position as the world leading supplier of natural colors with the widest portfolio in the industry.

FDA Approves Sensient Butterfly Pea flower extract

In other related news, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved butterfly pea flower extract as a colour additive in response to a petition by Sensient’s Color Group.

Butterfly pea flower extract is the industry’s first plant-derived natural blue source approved by the authority.

The color additive fills an important gap in the natural color spectrum because of its exceptional heat and light stability.

Also, the water-soluble color will enable food and beverage brands to achieve a range of shades including bright blues, intense purples, and natural greens.

The FDA endorsement of butterfly pea flower extract as a color additive in the code of food regulations will enhance the ability of leading brands and retailers to innovate using natural colors.

“Closing the performance gap between FD&C colors and those from natural sources has long been a strategic priority for Sensient.

“The work on butterfly pea flower extract began more than a decade ago, and it is very gratifying to see the culmination of those efforts,” stated Paul Manning, Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer of Sensient Technologies Corporation.

The extract can be put under a range of applications including alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages; liquid coffee creamers; ice cream and frozen dairy desserts; soft and hard candy; yogurt and chewing gum.

The ingredients industry has long been challenged to develop a natural blue coloring for food. The quest has been stymied by ensuring the stability and vibrancy in products that may be exposed to a range of conditions and shelf-life requirements.

That said, the pace of innovation has picked up, with Sensient’s butterfly pea flower extract just the latest in a series of promising natural blue colors.

Research funded by Mars Wrigley determined that a pigment in red cabbage could be used to create a long-lasting and stable natural blue color for food.

Spirulina, a single-cell algae, has also shown promise. In 2019, GNT Group debuted a range of high-intensity blue powders based on spirulina, and Sensient developed its own algae-derived coloring just a couple years prior.

Some natural blues also grow on trees. Archer Daniels Midland’s Wild Flavors and Specialty Ingredients has the patent on huito blue, a natural coloring that comes from a tropical fruit.

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