Ferro’s R&D team developed a superior Ultramarine Blue for food and cosmetics packaging

Blue conveys strength, calmness, cleanliness and loyalty, among other desirable attributes. That may explain why many global brands use blue as part of their corporate identity. In fact, blue is the top color used in brand logos. It’s no wonder blue also finds its way into packaging for countless consumer products – from laundry detergent to water bottles. 

For years, Ultramarine Blue pigments have been the choice for the plastics industry to make color concentrates and compounds for food and cosmetics packaging. These unique, distinctive blue shades offer excellent processing and service life performance. In particular, plastic caps and closures have historically been the most important use for Ultramarine Blues.


Solutions that please the senses

Since this pigment is a sulfur derivative, the potential issue of sulfurous odor or taste has been a concern. This came full circle a few years back when consumers voiced increased sensitivity to organoleptic (taste and odor) effects. This concern, coupled with the growing importance of safety and regulatory compliance for key brand owners, led Ferro’s scientists to innovate a new Ultramarine Blue series.

The Nubiperf FCP series was developed by first identifying the sulfur species behind the problem. Ferro’s team then developed proprietary technology to reduce the amount of residual, attached elemental sulfur in conventional Ultramarine Blue pigment, resulting in Nubiperf FCP. Third-party testing of the Nubiperf FCP showed virtually no detectable sulfur in the reformulated pigment.  


Putting it to the test

The Ferro team then wanted a way to validate their technology with consumers.  They conducted a study with Certech, a Belgian R&D center specializing in the field of organoleptics. Certech arranged for a panel to review four water samples that had been in contact with high-density polyethylene water bottle caps for 10 days at 40°C (104°F). 
The Nubiperf FCP sample was compared with water samples that had been in contact with bottle caps made with 3 alternatives: one was a blank (non-pigmented), the other two samples were made with conventional pigments that do not contain sulfur, such as  Phthalocyanine Blue and Cobalt Blue. The panel rated the water exposed to Nubiperf FCP favorably with no significant difference in taste or odor compared to the other samples.
Because Nubiperf FCP reduces or eliminates organoleptic effects, it’s fast becoming the choice for the world’s top masterbatch makers serving food and cosmetics packaging industries for use with top global brands. Nubiperf FCP is available around the globe, although Europe and North America lead usage of this highly effective alternative.  

Note: Ferro certifies that Nubiperf FCP lots contain less than 1 ppm free sulfur. Ferro Ultramarine Blues, including the Nubiperf FCP series, also comply with Food and Drug Administration and Regulation (EU) 10/2011 on food contact and recent modifications 2016/1416 and 2017/752.