Dallas, N.C.-based EXBERRY, a leading brand of natural colors for the food and beverage industry, created by GNT, announced it secured approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the use of spirulina extract in beverages. The green light from the FDA grants manufacturers the ability to maintain clean labels while achieving vibrant blue shades. EXBERRY’s color concentrates are derived solely from fruits, vegetables and edible plants through a process of chopping, pressing, filtering and blending, it notes. The company has developed a formulation technology, which is patented, that allows spirulina extract to remain both temperature- and acid-stabilized in beverages, it says. Previously, the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) only permitted the use of spirulina extract as a natural blue coloring ingredient in certain food products and powdered beverages, the company notes. Now, GNT has successfully petitioned the FDA to amend the regulation to include all non-alcohol beverages and alcohol beverages that are below 20% ABV, it says. “GNT’s EXBERRY Blue Beverage Solution at long last offers manufacturers a pathway to bright, stable, regulatory-approved and consumer-friendly natural blue colors,” said GNT USA’s Technical Director, Jane MacDonald, in a statement. “Natural blues have always presented challenges, from regulatory hurdles to technical limitations, but with GNT’s regulatory and technical expertise, we are excited to create new opportunities for beverage manufacturers.”

Lake Mary, Fla.-based Florida Food Products (FFP), a formulator and producer of tea and coffee extracts, as well as clean label solutions, released its new Insights Report titled “Meet the Demand for Function and Flavor in Today’s Beverages.” Investigating the latest trends in flavor and functionality within the beverage industry, the company notes that its proprietary consumer research findings show that almost three-quarters of the consumer population are opting for beverages that provide functional benefits. The report examined consumer desire for the following three trending health and wellness areas: mood enhancement, immunity boosters and clean energy drinks. The reported average annual growth rate for food and beverages launches with “functional” in the name was 59%, it says. “The beverage industry is evolving every day, with innovations and trends constantly emerging,” said Shellie Kramer, senior marketing manager at FFP, in a statement. “Our latest beverage report offers some exciting insight into what today’s consumers are seeking and how beverage manufacturers and innovators can satisfy these rising demands and capture sales. Consumers are choosing beverages that deliver on their desire for clean labels as well as offer health and wellness benefits, yet they are not willing to compromise on flavor.” 

Parsippany, N.J-based BENEO, a functional ingredient manufacturer, announced increasing global capacity for its prebiotic chicory root fibers by 30%, while also reducing specific energy consumption by 35%, it says. Demand for BENEO’s prebiotic and natural chicory root fibers has only grown as consumer awareness of digestive health has increased, it notes. The root fibers are plant-based prebiotics, with benefits such as an abundance in gut microbiota and on bowel function parameters, the company says. The company conducted an analysis at its Pemuco plant in Chile to identify production areas in which energy efficiency could be improved. After identifying such areas, BENEO updated processing equipment and invested in new technology, it says. “At BENEO, ensuring reliable and consistent delivery to our customers goes hand-in-hand with taking steps toward more sustainable and environmentally friendly production processes,” said Guillermo Fernandez, head of manufacturing at BENEO, Chile, in a statement. “This also means that, for every investment, the highest level of energy efficiency is applied. Therefore, the significant reduction of specific energy consumption at our chicory root fiber plant in Pemuco is an important milestone for us.” 

Morristown, N.J.-based PLT Health Solutions, a developer and marketer of ingredients that support functionality, announced offering an ingredient in water-soluble form. Available in North America, Rhodiolife Rhodiola rosea in this form has the potential to expand the variety of products into which it can be formulated, the company says. PLT innovation partner Nektium Pharma, based in Las Palmas, Spain, worked on developing this new product, it notes. “Successful beverage formulations require very special performance parameters from their ingredients,” said Deborah Thoma, marketing manager of Nektium Pharma, in a statement. “Our testing has shown we have accomplished this task. We feel that this new form of Rhodiolife can deliver adaptogen benefits into virtually any beverage product — and also into foods that feature the use of aqueous phase production.” Nektium’s research included an array of applications and shelf-life tests of beverages that confirm water-soluble Rhodiolife will not impact the color or flavor of formulations and that the active components of the adaptogen remain stable through processing and ultimate consumer use, it says. The quality assurance team at Nektium conducted identity tests multiple times on every batch of Rhodiolife to ensure that the raw material is authentic, it adds. “The real innovation of this new water-soluble Rhodiolife is that it allows a premium Rhodiola rosea — containing the rosavins and salidroside found in the actual plant root — to be formulated into challenging beverage systems easily and consistently,” said Devin Stagg, chief operating officer for PLT, in a statement. “This will allow faster and more cost-effective product development and ultimately a better consumer experience.”