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Judge me by my colour, say foods

By Shane Starling in London , 09-Oct-2008
Last updated on 16-Feb-2009 at 11:57 GMT2009-02-16T11:57:21Z

Foods, particularly fruits and vegetables, are increasingly being marketed on their colour and associated health benefits, according to new Euromonitor International findings.

Speaking at the Healthy Foods European Summit in London this week, Euromonitor analyst, Ewa Hudson, highlighted how colour is becoming a powerful marketing tool for foods such as superfruits.

This kind of marketing has become possible on the back on increased consumer awareness of the link between colour-giving components of foods. An example is anthocyanins, which are nutritious pigments that have been shown to benefit heart health.

Other examples include acai or pomegranate juices marketed as antioxidant-laden ‘red’ tonics, or green teas offering similar benefits.

According to Hudson, companies such as Parmalat, Unilever, Kelloggs and Kagome are employing this marketing technique

Kagome had released a colour wheel to educate consumers about variants in the spectrum, relevant ingredients and potential health benefits that ranged from heart health to urinary tract health to bone and teeth health and more.

Kagome’s colour breakdown includes:

  • Blue/purple: anthocyanins and quercetin
  • Red: lycopene, capsanthin
  • Yellow/orange: beta-carotene and beta-cryptoxanthan
  • White: allicin, flavonol
  • Green: chlorophyll, lutein

Global health and wellness pushing $500bn

Colour foods are part of a health and wellness category Hudson valued at $480bn (€350bn) in 2007, up seven per cent over 2006 and 42 per cent since 2002.

Naturally healthy foods (33 per cent) accounted for the biggest slice of this pie followed by functional foods and beverages (31 per cent), better-for-you foods (30 per cent), organic (5 per cent) and intolerance foods (1 per cent).

Organic foods grew fastest between 2002 and 2007 at 86 per cent. Functional foods and beverages sales increased 48 per cent and are expected to reach $170bn (€123.5m) by 2012. Functional beverages are set to jump 30 per cent in the period, while functional foods are forecast to grow 17 per cent.

North America and Western Europe are the dominant regions, with 35 and 31 per cent market share respectively.

Omega-3s, antioxidants, plant sterols, soluble fibres, calcium, bio-active peptides, squalene, GABA, collagen and flax were highlighted by Euromonitor as ingredients that continue, or are beginning, to attract a lot of interest in the food industry.

Omega-3 fish oil supplements grew strongly between 2002 and 2007, with average consumption rising 70 per cent to $2 (€1.45) per capita in 32 global markets. Last year, Norway had the world’s highest fish oil consumption at $24 (€17.40) per head.

In the plant sterols market, Hudson observed that yoghurts overtook spreads as the preferred application, with yoghurts surging 461 per cent between 2002 and 2007, while spreads dipped eight per cent. Global plant sterol food sales in 2007 came in at just over $3.2bn (€2.32bn), of which $2.6bn (€1.89bn) occurred in Europe.

Raw plant sterol ingredient sales surged 120 per cent between 2002 and 2007, with 18.2 thousand tonnes being sold worldwide last year.

The global health and wellness ingredients market will be worth $354m (€257m) in five years, Hudson said, a 22 per cent expansion. North America and Western Europe will continue to account for the bulk of sales at 34 per cent and 30 per cent respectively.

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