From bright whites to brilliant blues: Color innovation in F&B

Brilliant blues from spirulina

Israeli start-up Gavan says it has overcome the ‘blue challenge’ in hot and cold drinks with a heat-stable, natural, and vibrant colorant.

The color blue is rare in nature, and as such, the pigment has been highly sought after – in textiles and paints alike – for millennia.

An ‘eye-catching’ and ‘exciting’ color, blue has also provided an attractive hue for food and beverage makers.


In the drinks category, well-known blue drinks range from blue lagoon cocktails to berry-flavored soft drinks, blue lattes and functional sports beverages. But as the clean label trend continues to appear, consumers are increasingly looking to avoid artificial synthetic colorants.

While delivering a health-stable, naturally derived, vibrant blue for products with low pH is ‘tricky’, as any heat treatment or shift in pH can influence the color’s shade, Gavan believes it has found the solution in spirulina.

A type of blue-green algae, spirulina contains a pigment-protein known as phycocyanin, which produces a pure blue color.

Revealed in March, Gavan’s proprietary, non-GMO technology extracts phycocyanin and optimizes the colorant ‘gently, without damaging the source, and enables the extraction of multiple compounds from the whole spirulina, without waste.

The result is a stable, blue colorant developed from technology that protects it from fading, event at pH as low as 3.0 or when pasteurized at 90°C for 30 seconds, noted the start-up.

Gavan says its platform allows for a ‘full spectrum’ of stable shades of blue, but as blue is a primary color, it also ‘opens a window’ to producing other colors, from non-chlorophyll green to purple shades.


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