ThermoBlue - Natural blue food coloring

Project title: ThermoBlue - Natural blue food coloring

Partners: Deutsches Institut für Lebensmitteltechnik (DIL), Döhler, Elea, PepsiCo, Vaxa

Research Fund: EIT Food

Initial year: 2020


René Groben

Project Manager

As it stands today, there is no natural blue food coloring that can withstand food being heated or with high acidity. The ThermoBlue project seeks to meet the need that exists there. The project is managed by a group of qualified people who all have specific knowledge in order to create a new product with these features and bring it to market.

In the ThermoBlue project, a natural, stable, blue pigment will be developed from thermophilic microalgae found in hot Icelandic springs. The dye will be produced with pure Icelandic energy in VAXA's premises in Hellisheidi and in Reykjavík. Sustainability, wholesomeness and reduced waste are the focus of production. The algae species that will be used in the project grow at high temperatures and this means that the production should be free of pollutants.

Consumers want food to be natural, healthy, and produced in a sustainable and safe way. These thermostatic, water-soluble, proteinaceous pigments (commonly called PBPs) found in thermophilic algae meet these requirements. These PBP substances can be added to most foods, for example in dairy products and various beverages, to increase consumer satisfaction as the substance is completely natural and not made of synthetics like most other blue pigments in food. In addition, the PBP dyes can be used in many things other than food, such as cosmetics, medicines and biomedical substances.