Nowadays, Annatto is found in many types of processed foods as a natural coloring for adding color and improving them. Some foods we eat daily contain this natural coloring.
Annatto, which is extracted from achiote seeds, is one of the most popular natural coloring in the world due to its great performance in protein applications and great coloring power. Its color ranges from yellow to orange and its by-products include presentations in powder, liquid and oil suspension.
Given the range of color it provides to food, it is mostly used in cheeses requiring a yellow color to look more appealing. However, we should note that Annatto refers to the raw extract, while bixin is the fat-soluble coloring part, and norbixin is the water-soluble part. Bixin can be extracted directly from Bixa Orellana seeds, either by washing them with oils or solvents such as chloroform and acetone, or by being added an aqueous solution of
Potassium Hydroxide to produce Norbixin, a water-soluble substance.
Therefore, it comes as no surprise that cheese is one of the foods that most benefits from this natural coloring.
Specially, since bixin is a fat-soluble coloring part, so it is used to provide color to oil-based products such as different varieties of cheeses: Processed cheese, cream cheese and cheese sauce. But it is used mainly in Cheddar and Mimolette.