Annatto, which is where Norbixin is derived from, comes from the pulp of achiote seeds from a bushy shrub known as Bixa Orellana. The fruits of this shrub are covered with opaque soft bristles or with a soft surface. They are round and are about 4 cm wide, and they can be found in several colors such as yellow, brownish-green and bright red.
Achiote seeds host a pigment known as Bixin, which is an orange-yellow carotenoid, used as a coloring additive in the food industry, having the following code: E-160b, according to European Union’s food codes. Norbixin products are obtained from Bixin, which is a water-soluble natural coloring. This is used to provide color to different foods, especially products such as sausages, dairy products, snacks, etc.
In short, Annatto refers to the raw extract, while Norbixin is the coloring water-soluble part. It should be emphasized that strong colorings are derived from Annatto and, therefore, are considered very popular natural colorings given such characteristic.
Norbixin has a yellow-red/brown tone and is mostly used to provide color to non oil-based products, such as:
- dairy products such as yogurts and even ice creams
- different snacks
- breakfast cereals
- patisserie such as ice cream wafers
It is also used for cosmetics, pharmaceutical products, textile dyes, art paint, among others.