Coloring the Future of Plant-Based: v2Foods’ Color-Changing Algae, Exberry’s Realistic Red for Alt Meat, and ADM’s Pistachio Greens

What will future plant-based foods look like? Here we highlight v2food‘s new red algae-derived ingredient that changes color while it cooks; EXBERRY‘s Compound Red which creates realistic color changes in the cooking process of plant-based meat; and ADM’s color and flavor trends for 2024.

v2food’s color-changing algal tech

Plant-based meat company v2food has unveiled RepliHue, a new color system made from red algae for plant-based meat at Australia’s renowned discovery stage South by Southwest. According to v2food, RepliHue’s red algae is produced sustainably, capturing carbon dioxide and harnessing light as an energy source.

RepliHue is a new type of ingredient that is said to be capable of mimicking the color of meat during different cooking timings. It reacts to heat exposure, displaying different pink and brown shades to ensure a familiar cooking experience. 

“We are thrilled to pioneer the new wave of technological advancements in this space, not only in algae technology but in a sustainable future that can support the health and nutritional needs of our global food chain,” said the company on social media.

A plant-based steak coloured with EXBERRY red
Image courtesy of EXBERRY by GNT

EXBERRY’s authentic colors

Dutch natural color solutions GNT will showcase its EXBERRY plant-based colors —classified as ingredients instead of additives in the EU and the UK — at Plant-Based World Expo Europe this November. At the event, GNT will demonstrate the capabilities of its natural EXBERRY Compound Red to create realistic color changes in the cooking process of plant-based meat.

With over 400 shades, EXBERRY’s plant-based colors are made from non-GMO fruits, vegetables, and edible plants. They are suitable for F&B applications, including confectionery, beverages, dairy foods, bakery, and savory products.  Experts from the company will also be available to discuss EXBERRY’s applications in other plant-based products.

Steven Taylor, head of sales at GNT UK, said: “We’re especially excited to be able to show visitors first-hand how our concentrates can be used to create meat alternatives that provide consumers with a truly authentic cooking experience.”

Two pink drinks on a table
Image courtesy of ADM

ADM’s color trends 2024

According to ADM’s experts, the F&B industry will see consumers choose colors and flavors that reflect their desires, including personal and planetary health and a need to reinvent “nostalgic favorites” and experiences. 

Based on this trend ADM has outlined four color and flavor themes for 2024:

  • Luxe Self-Expression: Consumers want to express themselves and reflect their values through food and beverages. This theme involves “indulgent” colors, including stormy blue sparking grape, red hues, and apricot crush. The inspiring flavors will be sweet and umami, caramelized fruits, and cinnamon sugar. 
  • Dare to Dupe: Based on affordability, consumers will look for sensory experiences that replicate beloved products, say the experts. Brilliant colors such as pink power, magical marigold, playful blue, and pistachio green will deliver on consumer expectations for natural ingredients with similar flavors matching the color inspiration: melon, cucumber, pistachio, and grapefruit.
  • Health Without Stealth: Today’s shoppers seek functional foods and beverages to support holistic health, from relaxation to hydration and mental to physical wellness, says ADM. This theme’s colors signal those health desires: pistachio green, spectra yellow, persimmon, olive oil, very violet, and floral pink. The flavor inspirations are fruity, including yuzu, blood orange, and cherry.  
  • Breaking Boundaries of Taste & Color: This theme focuses on consumers’ desire to embrace unconventional products as the new norm. Vibrant, bold, rich, and earthy colors, including blue, yellow, pink, purple, and green, are the recommended inspiration for next year’s products, along with grape, lychee, and Chinese Sacha (a type of sauce) flavors.

“Color trends, and corresponding flavors, in foods and beverages provide unique insights into the human condition, revealing how we are responding and adapting to macro forces far beyond the table,” said Hélène Moeller, vice president of global product marketing for flavors and colors at ADM. 

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