A Minnesota company producing red-dye from purple corn grown in southwest Minnesota is carving out a place in the colorant market. Suntava is finding commercial success with food and beverage companies looking to replace petroleum-derived red dye #40 with a natural colorant.
“With any start up, you have some bumps in the road,” Bill Petrich, Suntava CEO says. “And we’ve been through our fair share, but there are some bright lights at the end of the tunnel.”
Suntava extracts natural color, trademarked Sayelatm, from Suntavatm Purple Corn, bred by Red Rock Genetics of Lamberton, Minn. The corn variety is not genetically modified offering global opportunities. Petrich says Suntava is working on delivering its first significant color order and he’s tapping into markets he didn’t foresee.
“We’ve tested the colorant in a number of unique applications and are making inroads into cosmetics and even seed coatings,” Petrich says. “There are a lot of opportunities we never imagined.”
Suntava “has identified a new use for a unique agricultural commodity,” says Dennis Timmerman, AURI project director. AURI has provided technical and extraction-process assistance. “Not only has this led to the development of a new business, it benefits growers in southwest Minnesota who grow the purple corn for Suntava,” Timmerman says.