Tuesday, May 11, 2010


With synthetic coloring materials in foods becoming anathema to the consumers because of the health risks they pose, food industry is left with no alternative but to look for color preparations extracted from natural sources. Left to itself, probably industry would have liked to continue with artificial colors because of their high tintorial power that helps to get the desired tint with low levels of application. It is a welcome news that production capacity for natural colors is continuously on the increase reflecting the growing demand from the industry and their acceptance bodes well for the health of the consumer.

"This is the latest in a planned series of investments to expand Sensient's natural color global capabilities. Previous investments include an increase in emulsion capability in Hamburg, Germany, a brand new facility in Guangzhou, China, and expanded capacity in anthocyanins in Reggio Emilia, Italy. These natural color investments will total more than $50 million.With the St. Louis project, Sensient will enhance its position in the U.S. and abroad as a leader in natural colors. Most of the world's largest food and beverage manufacturers use Sensient colors and flavors to make their household brand-name food and beverage products".

Caramel, Annatto, Cochineal, Betanin, Curcumin, Carotenoids, Chlorophyll and Anthocyanins are the major natural colorants in demand and they are manufactured from different edible plant sources, largely by water extraction, purification, concentration and drying. Their use in different foods is determined by their stability under acidic conditions and process stringency. Need for large quantity of raw material for manufacturing natural colors presents some logistical problem and diversion of food sources for color extraction which can be construed as a waste, just for the sake of improving the appearance of foods, may pose a dilemma in future. Fortunately cultivation of many of the sources of natural colors can be expanded and new technology may even come out with cultivars containing very high levels of colorants.

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