LOVE COLOR RED – Chinese New Year 2021

Five Chinese New Year food and drink trends - and how red can help

01 February 2021


Red is the color of good fortune and happiness in China.1 As the nation prepares to celebrate the beginning of the Year of the Ox on 12th February 2021, red will play a huge role in the festivities.2 For food and beverage manufacturers, it is the perfect shade for product launches based around the celebrations. As well as its cultural significance, red is an exciting, energizing shade that is strongly associated with love and affection. It provides instant visual impact and can help products tap into many of the biggest trends in food and drink, from new twists on old classics to products that stimulate all the senses. The experts at EXBERRY® by GNT are highly experienced in delivering exceptional results with plant-based colors. Here, they provide inspiration on how to develop spectacular red food and drink products for the Chinese New Year and beyond.

Food tales

New Year’s Eve is a time to over-indulge on favorite foods. While dishes vary by region, there is a countrywide emphasis on food that symbolizes happiness and prosperity.3 Spring rolls, for example, are associated with wealth, with variations including Shanghai’s sweet red bean paste version. Nian gao, meanwhile, is a savory or sweet sticky cake eaten to bring about a successful year; in Hebei, Shanxi and Inner Mongolia, jujube and red beans are often added for flavor and color. EXBERRY® can be used to take these products to the next level with an eye-catching red appearance.

Lucky candy

Fortune candies, served from ‘trays of togetherness’, symbolize the bringing together of luck and good blessings for the year ahead.4 As red is associated with good fortune, it is the perfect shade for these treats in 2021 as families look to move on from the pandemic. EXBERRY® can create vivid reds in confectionery and traditional candied fruits while maintaining clean and clear labels.

Little surprises

Chinese food presents ample opportunity for moments of joyful surprise, with options such as buns and dumplings allowing for a variety of fillings that carry special meanings.5 Lobster represents strength and good luck, for example, while seeds are associated with having many children. Coloring Foods can add to the excitement in these products with tantalizing red shades.

High-class confections

Confections are a key part of the celebrations, expressing wishes for a ‘sweet’ year ahead.6 Now, luxurious ingredients, bold red hues, flavor-infusing techniques, and artful, decorative designs are taking these confections to new heights. Vibrancy is key, whether that comes in candy, cake-pop or glazed biscuit form. EXBERRY® colors use fruit and vegetables to provide exceptional red shades, maintaining these products’ premium appeal.

West meets East

Western food is increasingly making its mark across China.7 As a result, manufacturers are enjoying success with Chinese New Year innovations such as ‘Year of the…’ donuts and cupcakes. Coloring Foods can ensure these novelty launches send out the right message, helping provide a strong connection to traditional red zodiac imagery.

Discover adventurous reds with EXBERRY®

Red is an exciting color that can add a sense of adventure to food and drink, with darker hues providing the perfect option to welcome in the Year of the Ox. Created from ingredients such as carrot, radish and sweet potato, EXBERRY® can deliver sophisticated red shades in a vast array of food and drink products while also keeping labels completely clean and clear.

1 Lagatree, Kirsten M. ‘Feng Shui: Arranging Your Home to Change Your Life’ (1996) 2 Readers Digest ‘The Surprising Reason Red Is the Official Color of Chinese New Year’ (2019) 3 ‘Chinese New Year Dishes’ 4 CNN ‘The meanings behind Lunar New Year’s ‘fortune’ candies’ (2020) 5 Beijing Tourism ‘The Symbolic Meaning of Chinese Food’ (2013) 6 ‘Chinese New Year Desserts’ 7 Eater ‘Why China Loves American Chain Restaurants So Much’ (2018)

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