What is Annatto?

Annatto is a yellow/orange natural color that has been used for many years for the vibrant orange color in cheeses, snack seasonings, and dairy products. It is extracted from the seeds of a tropical tree called bixa orellana. Annatto can be extracted as oil-soluble in the form of bixin, or in a water-soluble form called norbixin. As the market moves toward more natural colors, annatto transparency that offers a trusted and reliable supply chain is key to helping manufacturers reduce risk when bringing their products to consumers.

Trusted Supply Chain

Consumers are increasingly concerned with the source of their food ingredients. That’s why when we source our annatto seed, we look for suppliers that engage in best practices to comply with DDW requirements. The farm networks we source from in Latin America invest in initiatives like community projects, sapling nurseries, and collaborative resource sharing. Others have Sedex certifications, guaranteeing high standards of labor and ensuring farmers are being paid fair wages.

Beyond annatto transparency, we also work directly with suppliers and partners in West Africa and Latin America on initiatives to improve sustainability. For example, by converting to vacuum sealed packaging for shipping the seed, we are able to reduce oxidation and preserve the color of the annatto seeds during transport and storage. This saves energy during storage by eliminating the need for seed refrigeration as well as during manufacturing by requiring fewer extraction runs, reducing the water and energy resources required for color production.

In addition to sourcing from trusted suppliers we have long-standing relationships with, we also source from diversified regions for contingency planning to ensure reliable, consistent supply to our customers. This way, we are less vulnerable to impacts on supply chain, including port delays, poor crop yields in a single country, and natural disasters.

annatto bixin and norbixin come from the bixa orellana shrub
annatto farm transparency

Reliable Manufacturing

Our traceability and quality focus continues once the annatto leaves the growing regions. Upon arriving our facility in Port Washington, Wisconsin, it enters a controlled environment where it will pass through the hands of only a few operators before leaving our plant to go to yours.

While other companies may import pre-extracted annatto concentrates, we manufacture in-house from start to finish to give us complete control over the final color so we know we are providing our customers with safe, reliable, and high quality products.

Annatto Seed Extraction in Port Washington Wisconsin
Annatto Seed Extraction in Port Washington Wisconsin

Convenient Color

Our annatto colors are available in a wide range of formats and strengths for ease of use in any production process. From water and oil soluble options to suspensions and emulsions, this versatile color provides an easy to use, economical option for manufacturers.

And because we extract our annatto seed in house, we have the flexibility to match different color specifications or pack sizes to meet the needs of our customers.

Ready to get started with a sample? Request one here.


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