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What are natural food colours?

EXAMPLES
OF
NATURAL
OCCURRENCE
COLOUR PIGMENT EC No
Black Grapes
Blackcurrants
Cherries
Elderberries
Red Cabbage
Strawberries
Red/Blue Anthocyanins E 163
Anthocyanins are water soluble pigments responsible for the attractive red, purple and blue colours of many flowers, fruits and vegetables. They are sensitive to pH change,
being reddest in strongly acidic conditions and become more blue as the pH rises. Used in drinks, jams and sugar confectionery.
 
 
Beetroot Pink Betanin E 162
The colour of beetroot is water soluble and has limited stability when exposed to light, heat and oxygen. It is particularly suited to frozen, dried and short shelf-life products, such as ice creams and yoghurt.
 
Cochineal Red Carminic Acid E 120
The water soluble pigment carminic acid (carmine) is derived from the female cochineal insect. Introduced into Europe via the Aztecs it has the advantage of being stable when exposed to heat, light and oxygen. Uses include alcoholic beverages and processed meat products.
 
Alfalfa Grass
Nettles
Parsley
Spinach
Green Chlorophylls
and Chlorophyllins
E 140
E 141
Chlorophyll is the most widely distributed natural plant pigment, present in all green leafy vegetables. It is a green, oil soluble colour. Chlorophyllins are water soluble and relatively stable when exposed to heat and light. Uses include sugar confectionery and dairy products.
 

Annatto
Carrots
Oranges
Prawns
Red Peppers
Saffron
Tomatoes
Palm Fruit

Yellow
Orange
Red

Carotenoids:

 
Mixed Carotenes
E 160a ( i )
beta-Carotene
E 160a ( ii )
Bixin/Norbixin
E 160b
Capsanthin/Capsorubin
E 160c
Lycopene
E 160d
Apocarotenal
E 160e
Apocarotenal ( Ethyl Ester)
E 160f
Lutein
E 161b
Canthaxanthin
E 161g
Over 400 different carotenoids have been identified in red/orange/yellow fruits, vegetables and plants. Nature produces carotenoids at the rate of 1000 million tons per year. Most are oil soluble, heat stable and are not affected by pH change. The uses of carotenoids include margarine, dairy products and soft drinks.
 
Turmeric Yellow Curcumin E 100
Turmeric is a well known spice, used widely in cookery. Its pigment, curcumin, is oil soluble and tends to fade in light, but has good heat stability. It gives a lemon yellow shade in food systems. Its applications include pickles, soups and confectionery.
 
Eggs
Milk
Yeast
Yellow Riboflavin E 101
Riboflavin, Vitamin B2, is used for fortification and colouring. It is water soluble, heat stable and is used in dairy products, cereals and dessert mixes
 
Carbonised Vegetable Material Black Carbon Black E 153
Vegetable carbon black is a heat and light insoluble pigment, used primarily in sugar confectionery.
 
Melanoidins
(Caramel)
Brown Melanoidins E 150a-d
Caramel is water soluble and is associated with the colour and flavour of baked foods. It is heat and light stable, but stability in different food systems depends on the type of caramel used. It is used in baked goods and soft drinks.
 

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