Chr. Hansen is the world leader in natural colors. We apply our deep knowledge and insights about pigments, applications, and regulatory requirements around the globe to help our customers – and consumers – bring safe and appetizing food to the table. Sourced from nature, our color portfolio is the largest and most vibrant in the food industry, and our active role in the industry spans 140 years. We are part of Chr. Hansen Holding, who develops natural ingredient solutions for the food, nutritional, pharmaceutical and agricultural industries. Chr. Hansen employs over 3,000 people in 30 countries and is listed on Nasdaq Copenhagen.

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Colour use makes a difference in consumers' purchasing decisions: CHR Hansen

Colour use makes a difference in consumers’ purchasing decisions: CHR Hansen
Chains can also use colour to bring further interest to seasonal items.

The role of colour is becoming more critical in the foodservice industry, a factor QSRs need to take note in order to enliven their menus, according to Mary Bentley, senior vice president for global sales of CHR Hansen’s natural colours division.

“If the product is on a menu, in a display case or on your plate, your eyes notice the colour and you think about what the eating experience will be. It can make the difference between deciding to purchase the item or passing,” she explained to QSR Media in an exclusive interview.

QSR, Bentley says, can utilise natural colours to “bring new life and interest” to their menus, such as introducing new product categories, using it in toppings on core menu items or to showcase seasonal items.

“In the past, menu development was about expanding offerings to attract new consumers. Operators now need to be more creative in their offerings with much faster new items and colour can play a big role in that development,” she said.

Bentley adds that chains can take a page from food ingredient companies’ speed of development through deep knowledge of ingredients.

“Focus on speed of development is a key element to keeping menus fresh and revolving menu items to keep consumers engaged and to increase store traffic and return visits,” she said.

This is especially relevant now, given how social media such as Instagram becomes a clear channel for consumers to choose what they want to eat or drink, and, in most cases, share the experience online.

“Consumers love to share unique food items on social media. They use this medium to express themselves and position themselves as trend setters. Colour and food design are the two elements most relevant to this medium. You eat with your eyes and a colourful post is a powerful way to reach consumers,” Bentley stressed.

But colour need not be unnatural. Using natural colours over synthetic ones goes well with the wave of using health-promoting ingredients, one of the major trends CHR Hansen saw in 2019.

“Whilst (consumer) will always be loyal to their standard products, they balance that with healthier ingredients, sides or meal add-ons,” Bentley said, adding that sustainability is an important matter.

“You have a major shift in how operators are talking about sustainability and responsible sourcing. This impacts their sites energy usage, waste management and equipment as well as their food ingredients. You see this when they communicate about hormone free meats or informing consumers where food comes from. This positioning most appeals to consumers (aged) 25 to 34 as they make their location choices,” she said.

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