Natural colors are created or extracted from edible sources like fruits, vegetables, seeds, and minerals for the purpose of coloring food or beverage applications. However, there is no formal definition of “natural colors” by food authorities, like the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the United States or the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) in Europe.

The Natural Food Colours Association (NATCOL) offers a similar definition saying they “originate from a wide range of sources like vegetables, fruits, plants, minerals and other edible natural sources.” They have been used for many years and are considered safe for use in food and beverage applications.

There are many different types, but check out some of the most used colors below, or read more about all the different types here.

Anthocyanins

from sources like:

purple corn, purple carrots, purple sweet potatoes, radishes, and elderberries

Betanins

from:

beets

Carbon Black

from:
charred vegetable matter like coconut husks

Carotenoids

from sources like:

annatto, beta-carotene, and paprika

Carmine

from:

the cochineal insect

Curcumin

from:

Turmeric root

Chlorophyll

from:

grass

Phycocyanins

from:

spirulina

Safflamins & Carthamins

from:

Safflower

Synthetic colors, on the other hand, include FD&C Red #40, Yellow #5, Blue #1, etc. (or Allura Red, Tartrazine, Brilliant Blue, etc.), and are created from non-edible sources, typically petroleum. While they are generally considered safe for food use, there have been studies linking them to hyperactive behavior in children and require special labelling in the EU.

Natural colors are made by removing the pigments from the natural sources through selective physical and/or chemical extraction methods. This means that the resulting material contains primarily pigments from the natural color source and excludes any flavors or nutritive elements.

The resulting colors are concentrated and standardized so food and beverage manufacturers receive the same color each time they place an order and can expect consistent results. See how it’s done below!

Want to try a sample? Request one here.

Related posts

Natural Colors for Fermented Dairy and Non-Dairy

Natural Colors for Fermented Dairy and Non-Dairy Applications Fermentation is a fantastic technology we borrow from nature. It allows us to transform our food, improving taste, modifying texture, and prolonging shelf life through the production of organic

Coloring Different Plant Bases

A myriad of colors for a bundle of veggie bases Meat-free products come in a variety of formats and use a variety of base ingredients, all with their own specific requirements. Coloring different plant bases varies by base and desired end color. The most

The Raw to Cooked Look: Aiming for Authenticity

The plant-based meat alternative market continues to grow, in part due to interest from flexitarians. This group tries to add in more plant-based options in place of their regular meat consumption a few days a week, often for environmental, health, or ethical

Switching to Natural Colors in Confections

When you think of confections, you most likely imagine vibrant, colorful shades. To achieve those vivid hues, confections are typically colored with synthetics, but as consumers lean more toward ‘clean label’ options, demand for switching to natural

Do Natural Colors Have Nutritional Value?

Are natural colors healthy? Do natural colors impart nutritional value? Can we make functional claims when we use natural colors in our product? We get these types of questions often, especially with the increase in the “functional foods” market segment.

Webinar: Natural Colors for Petfood

Clean Label Kibble: Formulating PetFood With Natural Colors Pet owners want the best diet possible for their furry friends – and that means using ingredients that they recognize and understand. Formulating petfood with natural colors is a great way to

FEATURED CONTENT

Natural Colors in the Ice Cream Matrix
Natural Colors for Fermented Dairy and Non-Dairy

SUBSCRIBE TO GET UPDATES WHEN WE POST NEW CONTENT!