Price sensitivity means APAC still lagging behind US and Europe over natural colours

By Gary Scattergood

- Last updated on GMT

The US and Europe dominate natural colour sales for Arjuna. ©GettyImages
The US and Europe dominate natural colour sales for Arjuna. ©GettyImages
The global trend for natural colours has been slower to catch on in APAC, where the market is still overwhelmingly driven by price, according to a senior executive at Arjuna.

However, speaking to us at the Vitafoods exhibition in Geneva, the India-based firm’s executive director Antony Kunjachan said the company was having considerable success with its natural colours range in the US and Europe.

The company is perhaps best known for its curcumin supplement ingredient BCM-95, but branched out into natural colours and natural shelf-life extending products almost three years ago.

It opened a new food technology division at its Cochin R&D facilities in the south of India's Kerala State to serve food and beverage companies, in addition to its established nutraceutical clients.

Executive director Antony Kunjachan said the company had been working with a number of companies in the US and Europe to reformulate products with natural colours.

“This isn’t always a quick process, but we are starting to see the results now. We have seen our red and yellow natural colours prove very popular, especially in the candy and beverage segments,” ​he said.

Heat stability

He attributed much of the success to proprietary technology introduced by the firm that increases the heat stability of the natural colours – one of the main problems that manufacturers have traditionally struggled to overcome.

“We spent a lot of time and effort to develop that because we knew it was a big challenge for customers. Now we are seeing the benefits.”

Kunjachan said the company would like to expand its natural colours business in Asia, but said too many markets were currently driven by price.

“Take India as an example”​ he said. “The market just isn’t quite ready yet. It will happen, because consumers are demanding natural ingredients, it will just take a little longer.”

The company also announced in Geneva that its BCM-95® turmeric extract developed has been granted a patent for “composition for use in treatment” by the European Patent Office (EPO).

The new patent covers Arjuna’s composition of the active curcuminoids, demethoxycurcumin, bisdemethoxycurcumin, and Ar-turmerone. The essential oil of turmeric has proven effective in helping the treatment of depression, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, and Alzheimer’s disease. The patent is strictly enforced in most countries in the EU and in the US.

“This patent is an important step in building BCM-95’s position in the European market,”​ said joint managing director Benny Antony. “This highly bio-available curcumin is already a leading brand in the US, marketed by Dolcas Biotech, USA — so much so Arjuna installed a fully solar powered continuous extraction plant — and tripled its manufacturing capacity in Coimbatore, India, to meet this growing demand.”

This patent is in addition to 16 patents (13 in the US, two in Japan and one in Europe).

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