Natural colorings are obtained from foods and other natural products through a physical or chemical extraction resulting in a selection of pigments. Natural colorings are widely used in applications where the use of artificial colorings are not allowed, such as, for example, in the meat industry. While it is true that some industries and gastronomic experts add coloring additives to improve some foods appearance, thus making them more attractive to consumers, the fact is that these are also used to compensate the loss of color that occurs during food development and production processes.
Some foods, due to their production process and type, have no color; therefore, some color should be added to avoid a bad appearance in the final food product. Among the products lacking own color, we have candies, some desserts, snacks, drinks (soda, flavored water, juice, etc.)
Many currently well-known foods would not exist without Natural Colorings.
Some of the most used colorings in each sub-sector of the food industry are:
- Caramel powder in the baking industry, dark drinks and meat: This can be added directly during the process or diluted. It is usually stable in acidic or alcohol solutions.
- Carmine in confectionery and dairy products: Its use is recommended in drinks, confectionery, dairy and meat products, since it provides a natural color ranging from pink to red.
- Natural annatto for cheese and margarines (bixin): It provides reddish orange to yellow tones. This additive is used in cheese (such as cheddar), margarine, butter, rice, smoked fish, ice creams, and yogurt, among others.
- Curcumin: It is used in butters, cheese, mustard, bakery products, curry powder, tea and rice-based dishes.
- Chlorophyll: This coloring is extracted from different plants, such as alfalfa, grass or spinach. It provides a greenish color to foods and drinks, seasonings and bakery products.