The Power of Color: GNT research inspires personalized coloring solutions at Fi Europe 2021
30 Nov 2021 --- GNT has enlisted the skills of professional semioticians to delve into the many ways that color in food imparts messages on a conscious and subconscious level. The Exberry Coloring Foods supplier has released its “The Power of Color” market research, which formulators can use to tailor new personalized coloring solutions for the F&B arena.
On the showfloor of the ongoing Fi Europe (November 30 to December 2), held in Frankfurt, Germany, FoodIngredientsFirst caught up with representatives from GNT to discuss these new consumer insights that “move beyond the traditional annual color forecast.”
“Our research has been in the works for more than 18 months,” says Jill Janssen, market development specialist. “We’re conducting the research with several semioticians – examining what really motivates consumers, what they are looking for, and what tensions they face on a daily basis.”
“We are now moving toward a more targeted and customized approach [in food formulation and marketing], because all consumers are different.”
Crafting stories with color
The Power of Color research bridges consumer psychology with semiotics to deliver unique insights into how color generates meaning across products, brands and categories, enabling manufacturers to “create powerful stories” and stand out in their category.
The method of conducting this research is described as a “two-angle approach,” cross-examining the specifics of consumer demand and what individual colors mean to consumers. Together, these two perspectives allow brands to build a more comprehensive understanding.
“In terms of demand, consumers really value the pleasure of ‘Instagrammable,’ enthusiastic, bright colors,” continues Janssen. “They also pay attention to the credentials of ‘natural’ and ‘sustainable,’ which fits into their healthy lifestyles.”
“On the other hand, our semioticians are involved in the study of symbols. They examine what certain colors mean to consumers, in addition to the use of specific labeling.”
Zeroing in on color perception
Color codes and cues create a variety of meanings across different cultures, categories and situations, GNT outlines.
For example, color can indicate how to navigate situations and guide decision-making, as in the case of food nutrition labels. It can also signal personal identity, while evoking moods and emotions.
Red is seen as an energizing shade, for instance, while yellow is associated with joy.
“Color can send out any number of messages about brands and products. It might signal a moment of blissful escapism, tell stories about origins and process, showcase powerful ingredients, or help to highlight healthy formulations,” remarks Janssen.
“The Power of Color helps brands think about color in a new way, delving deeper than ever before into its cultural power while also exploring the psychology behind color trends.”
In particular, GNT is narrowing its research to examine consumers’ perception of color applied to beverages in the UK and confectionery in Germany, among other regional F&B segments.
“The world is becoming more diverse and more inclusive,” underscores Maartje Hendrickx, market development and marketing and communication manager at GNT.
“While we’re focusing on red as the top food color for 2021, we acknowledge that individual people have unique lifestyles. So therefore, we’re now looking into consumer behavior on a more targeted, local scale.”
GNT will be setting up workshops with its customers to further help formulators achieve the right targeted approach to color. “[We ask them] where their brand is located, what is the potential to extend their brand, and what kind of colors they work with [while leveraging insights from The Power of Color],” says Hendrickx.
Sustaining natural color innovation
The natural colors industry continues to gather speed in its shift toward close-to-nature ingredients, which comes as artificial dyes are phasing out.
“It’s clear that a one-size-fits-all approach to color is rapidly becoming outdated,” says Maartje Hendrickx., market development manager at GNT.
“As a service provider, innovation has always been in our DNA and this trailblazing project enables us to help customers find the cutting-edge coloring solutions they need to strengthen their market position and reach new audiences.”
GNT recently hailed the Natural Food Colours Association (NATCOL)’s Code of Practice for Coloring Foods in Europe as an “important milestone” for the industry.
The Code of Practice for the classification, manufacturing, use and labeling of Coloring Foods in the EU provides clear support for coloring ingredients made from edible fruit, vegetables and plants.
Last October, GNT invested US$30 million to expand its US-based facility for North American ingredient production. Strategically located close to Charlotte in North Carolina, the 49-acre facility will supply customers throughout the US, Canada and Mexico.
By Benjamin Ferrer, with additional reporting from Gaynor Selby at Fi Europe 2021 in Frankfurt
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