Loading...

What Are Natural Food Colours

Home/Library/What Are Natural Food Colours

Natural food colours originate from a wide range of sources like vegetables, fruits, plants, minerals and other edible natural sources. They impart colour when added to food or drink.

Natural food colours are preparations obtained from foods and other edible natural source materials obtained by physical and/or chemical extraction resulting in a selective extraction of the pigments relative to the nutritive or aromatic constituents.

They come in many forms consisting of liquids, powders, gels, and pastes.

Food colouring is used both in commercial food production and in domestic cooking.

Anthocyanins

Anthocyanins are water soluble pigments responsible for the attractive red, purple and blue colours of many flowers, fruits and vegetables. They are sensitive to pH change, being reddest in strongly acidic conditions and become more blue as the pH rises. Used in drinks, jams and sugar confectionery.

E-Number

E163

Colour

Red/Blue

Pigment

Anthocyanins

Naturally Occuring

Black Grapes, Blackcurrents, Cherries, Elderberries, Red Cabbage, Strawberries

Betanin

The colour of beetroot is water soluble and has limited stability when exposed to light, heat and oxygen, It is particularly suited to frozen, dried and short shelf-life products, such as ice creams and yoghurt.

E-Number

E162

Colour

Red/Pink

Pigment

Betanin

Naturally Occuring

Beetroot

Carminic Acid

The water soluble pigment carminic acid (carmine) is derived from the female cochineal insect. Introduced into Europe via the Aztecs it has the advantage of being stable when exposed to heat, light and oxygen. Uses include alcoholic beverages and processed meat products.

E-Number

E120

Colour

Red

Pigment

Carminic Acid

Naturally Occuring

Cochineal

Chlorophylls/Chlorophyllins

Chlorophyll is the most widely distributed natural plant pigment, present in all green leafy vegetables. It is a green, oil soluble colour. Chlorophyllins are water soluble and relatively stable when exposed to heat and light. Uses include sugar confectionery and dairy products.

E-Numbers

E140 & E141

Colour

Green

Pigment

Chlorophylls/Chlorophyllins

Naturally Occuring

Alfalfa Grass, Nettles, Parsley, Spinach

Carotenoids

Over 400 different carotenoids have been identified in red/orange/yellow fruits, vegetables and plants. Nature produces carotenoids at a rate of 1000 million tons per year. Most are oil soluble, heat stable and are not affected by pH change. The uses of catotenoids include margarine, dairy products and soft drinks.

E-Number

E160a - E160g

Colour

Yellow, Orange, Red

Pigment

Carotenoids

Naturally Occuring

Annatto, Carrots, Oranges, Prawns, Red Peppers, Saffron, Tomatoes, Palm Fruit

Curcumin

Tumeric is a well known spice, used widely in cookery. Its pigment, curcumin, is oil soluble and tends to fade in light, but has good heat stability. It gives a lemon yellow shade in food systems. Its applications include pickles, soups and confectionery.

E-Numbers

E100

Colour

Yellow

Pigment

Curcumin

Naturally Occuring

Tumeric

Riboflavin

Riboflavin, Vitamin B2, is used for fortification and colouring. It is water soluble, heat stable and is used in dairy products, cereals and dessert mixes.

E-Number

E101

Colour

Yellow

Pigment

Riboflavin

Naturally Occuring

Eggs, Milk, Yeast

Carbon Black

Vegetable carbon black is a heat and light insoluble pigment, used primarily in sugar confectionery.

E-Numbers

E153

Colour

Black

Pigment

Carbon Black

Naturally Occuring

Carbonised Vegetable Material

Caramels

Caramel is water soluble and is associated with the colour and flavour of baked foods. It is heat and light stable, but stability in different food systems depends on the type of caramel used. It is used in baked goods and soft drinks.

E-Number

E150a - E150d

Colour

Brown

Pigment

Melanoidins

Naturally Occuring

Melanoidins (caramel)