Main features of cochineal, the raw material of our natural color: the carmine
Carmine is a natural color of animal origin, which mainly comes from female cochineals, insects that usually live in the cacti or prickly pear of Latin America. This raw material has been traditionally used in Peru since Pre-Inca civilizations to dye cotton and alpaca fibers. It is also known that the Mayan and Aztec cultures used it over 500 years ago, too.
Most of cochineal breeding worldwide is currently done in Peru, where millions of insects are bred to produce carmine, a valuable, versatile product for many businesses. It is a basic ingredient for a great variety of products in the food industry, and it is preferred over other artificial alternatives.
Besides, Peru is the leader of carmine production in the world, controlling 95% of the international market. Last year, our country exported about $50 million dollars to Denmark, Brazil, Spain, China and Germany, which currently are the main markets.
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