With people opting for natural and organic choices in eating it should come as no surprise that more and more consumers are seeking natural food coloring – if any at all – in the processed and ready-to-eat foods that they buy.
American food manufacturers have been following suit after the European Commission and British regulation began requiring warning labels on processed foods which contain certain food dyes and thereby changing how food manufacturers are considering if it’s worth using the controversial and shunned food dyes!
Companies like Pepperidge Farm announced in August 2010 that they had reformulated its products “Goldfish Colors” and “Goldfish Colors Neon,” replacing the FD & C reds and blues that had colored the products with turmeric, beet, watermelon and paprika extracts.
Frito-lay then announced in January 2011 that they were going to make 50 percent “all natural,” meaning no artificial colors in their snacks! They now offer Sun Chips colored with Paprika and their White Cheddar Cheetoes no longer feature neon orange stain.
New England-based Necco Wafers are also now producing candy colored with purple cabbage, red beets and cocoa powder, which actually sounds quite mouth-watering…
In the United States, companies such as Trader Joes and Whole Foods refuse to carry petroleum-based dyes such as Red 40, Blue 1 and Yellow 5 and 6.
But food industry researchers and manufacturers are saying that using the natural food colorings is costly as well as difficult because not all consumers are ready to pay more for their food but also expect the taste and look to be consistent with established standards.
According to food manufacturers, the most common natural color options include anthocyanins which are the foods red cabbage, purple sweet potato, black carrots, red radishes and elderberry, which replace Red 40; carotenoids which are from turmeric, annatto, paprika and tomatoes that can be used instead of Yellow 6; and carmine which is made from cochineal insects in place of synthetic red colorings.
Using the natural food coloring may cost 10 to 20 times more and they are seldom as bright and will alter in time, changing the taste of products over time if not consumed soon enough.
Nevertheless, it appears that artificial food coloring use will eventually be phased out…