Coloring Foods: Where Food & Confectionery Manufacturers Find Their Colors
While food product developers have color on their minds, for 45 years Colorcon’s Ray Arnold has had color on his hands. He is often reminded what those colors on his hands represent when he walks down an aisle in a grocery store.
All those foods and candies you toss into your shopping cart? Ray probably had a hand in designing and coloring many of them. One of the benefits of the job is getting to see the products you helped make…well…everywhere. Talk about bringing your work home with you!
Food & Candy Makers Develop Product Colors
Ray is a member of Colorcon Specialty Markets’ highly-secret, clandestine Technical Service Lab (TSL). Okay, full disclosure: it’s not actually secret or clandestine. Rather, the TSL is an essential customer-facing resource that helps companies find the right color and ink solutions for food and confectionery applications.
The TSL is actually set up to run as a miniature version of Colorcon’s commercial manufacturing operations, and it’s where all projects start in the search to find the color and color system best suited to your application. In some cases, a solution might be found in within Colorcon’s existing library of options. Other times, a new color must be created to fit the specific project needs. Once complete, the samples are produced, tested, prototyped and shared with the customer. On average, the lab generates about 9,000 samples a year and conducts frequent product trials.
Ray shares that one of the biggest challenges they face in Tech Service Lab is color choice:
“Compared to the wider D&C portfolio for pharmaceutical customers, FD&C has a more limited pigment portfolio for the food industry, which can make color matching projects a bit more involved. Because Colorcon works with a wide range of food applications, assessing how a color might change depending on the application can get interesting.”
Custom color matching is part of what sets Colorcon apart from other ink & coating suppliers.
Custom coloration is critical to any manufacturer wanting to build on their brand recognition. In cases like this, there can be very specific requests to match a logo color. Other projects are a little less specific, and our extensive library of color options tends to be sufficient. For instance, where the request is simply for a “lime green.”
Speeding Up Customer Product Development
One of the key objectives of Colorcon’s Technical Service Lab is to speed customer projects along the development path.
When it comes to food and confectionery products, visual results are critical. Rather than sending a manufacturer color product samples to be “figured out” by you, our lab delivers visual prototypes. This is especially critical in more complex projects, including spraying, dipping, coating, filling, printing or glazing applications.
Performing the preliminary feasibility studies and developing the process foundation on behalf of customers saves you a lot of development time and unnecessary trial-and-error.
Color Services Built Around Knowledge & Experience
Our technical lab team has years of expertise and knowledge, and many have worked with our materials across different stages of our processes. In some cases, they have 25+ years’ experience and are well-versed in the products and processes that work (or don’t) from a manufacturing standpoint. In addition to the processes, they also understand the characteristics and parameters involved in a broad range of food and confectionery applications.
Ray is a great example of this. He originally started in production, where he worked for 25 years. The transition to the TSL placed him squarely on the other side of the equation – designing recipes and processes, rather than simply following them.
Ray has been a great ally in helping our commercial team succeed in the confectionery industry and we can’t thank him enough for the years of service he’s given us. We wish him many healthy years enjoying his retirement.
Learn more about Colorcon Specialty Market’s Technical Services Lab capabilities and how we can help drive your food & confectionery development project forward faster.
Since 2016, Natalie Myers has served as the Food and Confectionery Area Technical Manager, providing technical assistance in the development and commercialization of new products using Colorcon’s coloring and coating systems. She has a BS in Food Science from Penn State University.