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PepsiCo Seeking: Natural Color Ingredients for Foods & Beverages Image of pigments in bags

PepsiCo is evaluating different natural color ingredients and technologies to replace Yellow #5, Yellow #6, Red #40, and Blue #1 for multiple food and beverage brands in order to address consumer demand. Specific challenges are in Red #40 (food) and Blue #1 (food & beverage) replacements.

Solution Requirements

Please indicate whether your solution is applicable for foods and/or beverages.

FOODS: Seeking Yellow #5, Yellow #6, Red #40, and Blue #1 replacement natural colors


  • Minimal flavor notes (can be masked or hidden by additional flavors/seasonings)
  • Finished product appearance must be like current products
  • Ingredient sourcing should be available in <8 years


  • Single ingredient solution
  • Not sensitive to oxidation due to O2 in air
  • No change over shelf-life (typical 3 month for snacks, 9 months for cereals)
  • Ingredient sourcing should be available in <3 years
  • Should not require special storage conditions (ex. refrigeration)
  • Preliminary stability studies with high heat

BEVERAGES: Seeking Blue #1 replacement natural colors


  • Safe to consumer
  • Nice blue color shade (close to FD&C Blue#1)
  • No or minimal impact on flavor or taste of finished beverage
  • Stable at low pH (2.7-3.2) beverage at ambient for 6-9 months (Stable to light, heat, no sedimentation or phase separation, no or minimal impact on flavor/taste of finished beverage)
  • Stable after thermal process (approximately 200-205F for 33 seconds)
  • Stable in cold-filled preserved beverage application
  • Ingredient shelf-life minimum 6 months required
  • Economical feasible (cost cheaper or equal commercial spirulina blue color and supply chain perspective)


  • Ingredient has longer shelf-life (12 months or more)


Past Work & Approaches not of Interest

PepsiCo has performed project specific assessments of natural color ingredient. Typically, these projects have short timelines and low ingredient costs. In 2020, PepsiCo decided to approach the project from an ingredient lens to help drive mid to long term research. Current work has focused on currently commercialized color ingredients produced at large scale. In the past, natural color ingredients have been explored via addition to seasoning, oil slurries, extrusion or into baked/fried products.

Ingredients must be “safe for consumption” and have path to regulatory approval in the US, Canada, and/or Europe. Otherwise, all ingredients are within scope.


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