New possibilities for blue beverages: GNT gains regulatory approval for spirulina extract

New possibilities for blue beverages: GNT gains regulatory approval for spirulina extract
Photo - KamranAydinov on Freepik

GNT has secured U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval for the use of spirulina extract in beverages, enabling manufacturers to achieve vibrant blue shades while maintaining clean labels.

GNT, which supplies plant-based EXBERRY color concentrates, has developed a patented formulation technology that allows spirulina extract to remain temperature- and acid-stabilized in beverages.

The EXBERRY Blue Beverage Solution is suitable for use in a wide range of applications including sports, energy, and carbonated drinks, juice drinks, enhanced waters, and alcoholic beverages below 20% ABV.

The Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) had previously only permitted the use of spirulina extract as a natural blue coloring ingredient in certain food products and powdered beverages. However, GNT has now successfully petitioned the FDA to amend the regulation to cover all non-alcoholic beverages as well as alcoholic beverages below 20% ABV. The update will come into effect on December 13, 2022. ​

This means the EXBERRY Blue Beverage Solution can be used as a clean-label replacement for Blue 1 in the vast majority of drink applications. It delivers a bright turquoise blue shade in acidified beverages with a pH range between 2.6 to 3.4 and can be combined with other EXBERRY concentrates to deliver hues including navy blue, violet, and green.

GNT USA’s technical director, Jane MacDonald, said, “GNT’s EXBERRY Blue Beverage Solution at long last offers manufacturers a pathway to bright, stable, regulatory-approved, and consumer-friendly natural blue colors. 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.”

Consumer interest in spirulina has increased exponentially over the past decade in step with the FDA’s approval of natural blue colors derived from spirulina extract for products including yogurt, ice cream, and confectionery.

GNT is the largest spirulina extract manufacturer in the world. Its spirulina supply chain is completely vertically integrated, beginning with raw material cultivation through to its dedicated product manufacturing facility to ensure commercial scale-up capabilities.

The company’s state-of-the-art facility also utilizes green energy generated from solar panels to enhance sustainability.

GNT USA’s vice president, Jeannette O’Brien, added, “Spirulina’s brisk market growth shows no signs of slowing down due to growing consumer awareness of this ingredient’s health halo, which taps into burgeoning wellness trends. EXBERRY colors are also created at our cutting-edge manufacturing facilities using gentle, physical processing methods that align with the transparency that these shoppers want to see.”

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