Natural food colors

Solubility and stability of natural colours in different food matrices are essential knowledge when recommending a colour solution. Processing conditions, packing material and shelf life also influence the successful use of a colour. Thus the stability when exposed to heat, light and low pH becomes important colour characteristics.


CapColors are a range of water-dispersible colours, which exist as powders, MicroCap, and liquids, LiquidCap. They consist of colour particles embedded in a food-grade matrix and are characterised by containing no emulsifiers.

Colour products

Turmeric - obtained from the turmeric plant root, Curcuma longa L, a member of the ginger family, is used to colour pickles, puddings, shortenings, confectionery as well as many other products. The colour hue is bright green-yellow and the stability to heat and pH is excellent. Combinations of annatto and turmeric extend the natural yellow colour range.Turmeric is available in formulations based on either purified curcumin or turmeric oleoresin.

Carthamus - obtained from the safflower Carthamus tinctorius and is used as a natural colouring extract and as a slightly aromatic flavour. Carthamus can be used in various food products such as beverages, confectionery, dressings and desserts because of its excellent light stability. The colour hue is bright greenish yellow to yellow.

Annatto - Annatto colours, extracted from seeds of the annatto shrub, Bixa orellana L, can be used for brightening of cheese, ice cream, butter, margarine, confectionery and many other foods and beverages. Annatto is especially suited for colouring of cheese, meat and fish because of its ability to adhere to protein thus creating a very stable colour. The colour hues cover a wide range from light orange-yellow to deep orange-red. The stability towards light, heat and pH is good. Years of experience have resulted in a large variety of annatto products.

Xanthophyll - extracted from Marigold (Tagetes), can successfully be used in products such as juices, sauces, soups and cakes. Xanthophyll provides a warm bright yellow colour. The stability towards light, heat and pH is good. Xanthophyll is furthermore used in combination with paprika in feed products for colouring of egg yolks.

Beta-carotene - either nature identical or can be extracted from e.g. palm oil. We offer all types of beta-carotene. Beta-carotene is used in many applications including margarine, soft drinks, cheese, desserts and butter. Beta-carotene is moderately light, heat and pH stable. The colour hue is yellow changing from light yellow to orange, depending on the concentration. Beta-carotene exhibits pro-vitamin A activity.

Paprika oleoresin - a well-known orange-coloured spice either extracted or ground from sweet varieties of Capsicum annum L. Paprika is used in various foods for instance sauces, soups, snacks, sausages and fish because of its flavouring and colouring properties. The colour hue is orange-red depending on the formulation used. The stability towards light, heat and pH is good.

Red beet - Red beet extracts are obtained by squeezing and pasteurising the liquid juices of the beet root, Beta vulgaris. Red beet is used in products such as yoghurt, ice cream, confectionery, dressings, soups and vegetable products. The colour hue is red to bluish-red depending on processing and application. The light and pH stability of red beet is moderate and will depend on the application.

Anthocyanin - Anthocyanin colours, extracts from various fruits and vegetables, are particularly used in soft drinks, instant drinks, liquors, confectionery, fruit jellies and jams. The colour hue changes from bright pinkish red at low pH to a more bluish red at high pH. The light stability is good, but will depend on the applications. Chr.Hansen offers different types of anthocyanins such as grape skin colour and elderberry extracts.

Cochineal/Carmine - Cochineal extracts are produced by extraction of the shield of the insect Dactylopius coccus, which is cultivated in South America. The colouring pigment, carminic acid, has been used since ancient times to colour clothes and food. Cochineal is used mainly in products with low pH, such as confectionery, beverages and liquors. The colour hue is orange. Carmine is a lake which is produced from the carminic acid. Neo Ltd offers carmine lake in different reddish colour shades ranging from purple to bright red and it is used for cosmetics, confectionery, meat products and various other foods. The light and heat stability is excellent and makes cochineal and carmine ideal for food products exposed to direct light.

Chlorophyll - Chlorophyll in its uncoppered version is obtained from grass and other plant material (e.g. spinach). By addition of copper brighter more stable colours are produced. Both uncoppered and coppered versions are available at Neo Ltd.
Chlorophyllin is used to colour food such as ice cream, liquors, confectionery and jellies. Chlorophyll is also used to decolourise cheese. The colour hue changes from light to dark green depending on the concentration. The copper chlorophylls are more bluish green and generally brighter that the uncoppered version.

Chlorophyll/Turmeric - Blends of chlorophyll and turmeric in various proportions create bright yellowish-green colour hues. Chr.Hansen customizes blends of turmeric and chlorophyll to match the desired colour hue of e.g. kiwi and pistachio, especially in products like ice cream, desserts and confectionery.

Malt - obtained from roasted barley malt. The flavour is mild and the colour hue is dark brown. Blended with e.g. annatto the colour hue will turn into golden brown. The applications, which are numerous, include soft drinks, beer, liquors, confectionery, bakery products, meat and poultry products. Malt has an excellent light, heat and pH stability.

Caramel - one of the most used food colours, is obtained from heating of sugar and is used in a variety of products. Some main applications are soft drinks, liquorice, ice cream, bakery products and sauces. The warm brown colour has an excellent light, heat and pH stability.

Carbo Vegetabilis - obtained by carbonization of vegetable material. Carbo Vegetabilis consists of fine particles of carbon black suspended in water. Carbo Vegetabilis is insoluble which makes it a very efficient colour for colouring of liquorice and other confectionery products. The colour hue changes from greyish to black depending on the concentration. Light and heat stability is excellent.


For more information please contact our sales manager: Laura Roń∑e.