Gulfood Manufacturing 2023: GNT targets Middle East market with halal-certified plant-based natural colors

Food Ingredients 1st

GNT is tapping into the increasing demand in the Middle East from a growing base of health-conscious customers seeking clean label products with natural ingredients and a short ingredient list.

The company’s Exberry Coloring Foods will be displayed at the forthcoming Gulfood Manufacturing 2023, Dubai, Saudi Arabia, next month.

Gummy candies are in different colors, including yellow, orange, and red.Exberry Coloring Foods are suitable for vegetarian, vegan, kosher and halal diets (All Image credit: GNT).

Consumers in the region are showing a heightened concern for product labels and are actively choosing cleaner alternatives.

Exberry Coloring Foods are edible food concentrates crafted from non-GMO fruits, vegetables, and plants, developed through traditional physical processing methods that are veritably halal-certified.

Santhosh Thankappan, sales director at GNT Middle East, talks to Food Ingredients First about targeting the Middle East.

“Middle Eastern consumers are paying more attention to what they eat and drink as they prioritize their health and well-being.”

“Consumers in the Middle East are becoming increasingly conscious about the ingredients in their food and drink and the potential health impacts. That’s leading to much greater scrutiny of product labels, with artificial colors among the ingredients that can provide particular cause for concern.” Thankappan further elaborates.

Concerns over food dyes
Artificial food dyes have no known nutritional benefits and potentially carry several health risks. There is a heightened concern regarding the potential adverse effects associated with artificial dyes, including concerns related to hyperactivity in children, cancer, and allergic reactions.

“In the Gulf Cooperation Council region, food and drink containing certain artificial colorants – Allura Red AC (INS 129), Sunset Yellow (INS 110), Azorubine (INS 122) and Tartrazine (INS 102) – must carry a warning about the potential ‘negative effect on activity and concentration in children.’” Thankappan says.

“Exberry Coloring Foods support cleaner and clearer label declarations so consumers can be reassured that the coloring ingredients are safe and healthy.”

Embracing local dietary standards
Considering the pivotal role of halal certification and adherence to dietary restrictions in the Middle East, GNT assures its commitment to fulfilling these cultural and nutritional mandates.

Two hands are holding pieces of a red color vegetable.The team of experts can help ensure the products meet the latest plant-based trends.“Exberry Coloring Foods are derived from fruits, vegetables, and plants that are non-toxic and unfermented. We don’t use any raw materials or ingredients of animal origin and don’t use alcohol during any part of our production processes,” continues Thankappan.

The Halal Feed & Food Inspection Authority’s halal-approved logo on their product labels further cements their compliance with Islamic dietary laws.

Sustainable commitment to production
While GNT emphasizes the application of Exberry colors in many products, including confectionery, beverages, baked goods, and more, the company also looks into sustainability.

Thankappan says: “We’re committed to leading the food coloring market on sustainability without compromising quality or naturality. We use more than 30 fruits, vegetables, and plants to create our Exberry portfolio. We have a vertical supply chain and work closely with our contract farmers to grow crops with intense colors using sustainable agricultural methods.”

By Sichong Wang