GNT Group

Why plant-based colours are the perfect

choice for plant-based products


Heavily processed meat and fish alternatives with chemical colours are falling short of expectations. EXBERRY® Coloring Foods provide the ideal solution, using plant-based materials to deliver spectacular results, writes GNT Product Manager Jana Reckter


Plant-based meat and fish is more popular than ever before. FMCG Gurus data shows 29% of consumers worldwide now eat meat substitutes on a regular basis[1], while a recent Deloitte survey saw a fifth of millennials and Generation Zs describe themselves as vegetarian or vegan.[2]

As a result, the global plant-based meat market is enjoying phenomenal growth, with UBS predicting it will grow from $4.6 billion in 2018 to $50 billion by 2025.[3]

Nonetheless, many meat and fish substitutes are failing to match consumer expectations.

Datassential has found that 49% of shoppers choose plant-based products over animal alternatives because they are healthier[4], while a Mintel survey showed 41% of UK consumers agree that meat-free foods are more appealing when they have a short ingredient list.[5]

Despite this, a significant number of the products on the market today are heavily processed and feature long ingredient lists.

Research carried out by Nielsen in 2019 found that less than half (46%) of plant-based products featured both ‘clean’ credentials and short ingredient lists.[6]

Last year’s Barclays report on alternative meat, meanwhile, showed seven out of ten consumers prefer to avoid artificial ingredients[7], while the same proportion say it is important that meat substitute products are 100% naturally formulated.[8]

Plant-based 2.0

With today’s consumers demanding more from their products, the industry is now upping its game. The plant-based 2.0 era has arrived, with manufacturers taking steps to clean up their ingredient lists and ensure their plant-based meat and fish products match expectations.

Using the right coloring ingredients can be particularly important. While product appearance is vital, nearly two-thirds (62%) of shoppers say they are concerned about ingredients that sound chemical.[9] As such, using artificial colours – and even so-called ‘natural’ colourants like iron oxide, anthocyanin and carotene – can impact on consumer appeal.

EXBERRY® Coloring Foods offer the ideal solution. Made from fruit, vegetables and plants with no chemical solvents, they make it possible to use plant-based colours for plant-based products.

They could be labelled on an ingredient list as “Coloring Food (concentrate of carrot and blackcurrant),” for example, which is easy for shoppers to understand and fits perfectly with expectations for healthier products. We even have a ‘coloured with fruit & vegetables’ logo that can be used on the front of the pack.

Coloring Foods are suitable for almost any food and drink application and can deliver exceptional results for meat and fish alternatives. From vivid veggie sausages to uber-realistic salmon substitutes, they can provide the ideal visual impact while maintaining perfectly clean and clear labels.

Our experts can offer full support to customers, too, from colour matching and stability testing all the way through to regulatory support and upscaling.

Raw materials

We also take great pride in using only the best raw materials for our Coloring Foods. We are vertically integrated and monitor the entire supply chain, from selection of seeds to cultivation and harvesting of raw materials, all the way through to finished products.

The entire process is controlled by our agronomists, who conduct extensive quality checks at regular intervals. Whether we are growing black carrots, pumpkins or elderberries, our fruit and vegetables are cultivated to deliver exceptional colour performance every time. In this way, we offer our customers the best products, complete traceability and price stability.

This approach has also helped us to ensure we can provide a consistent, year-round supply of our Coloring Foods. While recent months have created challenges throughout the industry, we have been able to maintain sufficient inventory of raw materials and finished ingredients for all our customers.

Colour without compromise

In a crowded marketplace, it is clear that simply offering plant-based products is no longer enough.

With consumers seeking out healthier food and drink with clean and clear labels, it is essential for manufacturers to make sure their ingredients – not least their colours – do not undermine their products’ positive credentials.

EXBERRY® Coloring Foods mean there is no need to compromise. Utilizing fruit, vegetables and plants to provide hundreds of spectacular shades, EXBERRY® is the ideal way to ensure plant-based meat and fish products offer widespread appeal while achieving their full visual potential.



1 FMCG Gurus ‘Top Trend: Plant-Life Explored’ (2020)
2 Deloitte ‘The Deloitte Global Millennial Survey 2020’
3 UBS ‘Future of Food I: Is Plant-Based Meat Poised to Rebalance Global Protein Consumption?’ (2019)
4 Datassential ‘Plant-Based Eating SNAP! Keynote Report’ (2018)
5 Mintel/Lightspeed
6 Nielsen ‘Meet The New “Meat” Eater’ (2019)
7 Barclays Investment Bank ‘Alternative Meat’ (2019)
8 FMCG Gurus ‘Top Trend: Plant-Life Explored’ (2020)
9 FMCG Gurus ‘The Future of Naturalness 2020’ (August 2020)