LLC, a start-up company based at Purdue Research Park with which Yuan Yao, Food Science, is associated, was
awarded runner-up among more than 220 entries in the Global Food and Health
Innovation Challenge in November at the Global South Summit in Nashville,
Tenn., for its All Natural Food Color initiative. Phytoption won the award
after being named one of six finalists and presenting its business plan to
judges and investors. By using all natural and sustainable food materials,
Phytoption promotes large-scale, broad-spectrum use of natural colors - a
nearly $1 billion market - in the food industry. Because of health concerns,
replacing artificial food colors with natural food colors is a major trend in
the food market. Scientific studies have linked artificial food colors to
health problems in humans, especially increased hyperactivity in children.
Natural food colors are coloring materials extracted from natural resources,
such as plants. Most of these materials, such as beta-carotene, are
antioxidants, providing not only coloring but also potential health benefits.