Caramel color is an important source of color for the spirits and brewing industries. Class I caramels are the most stable in high proof spirits and therefore the most commonly used. Beer, on the other hand, requires a class III caramel color or a beer stable class I, which have a positive ionic charge. This helps to avoid any reactions between the caramel color and protein in the beer. For flavored alcohols, it is best to work directly with one of our application scientists to find a color that will be compatible with your flavor system.
Factors such as pH, baking time, leavening methods, and target flavors can all affect color selection for your baked goods. For cakes, colors with excellent heat stability should be used to sustain extended bake times. These can include Naturbrown® apple, class I caramels, turmeric, Emulsitech® beta-carotene, annatto, and carmine. Cookies and wafers have shorter baking times, opening the door to additional colors including pink and red from beet. Since baked goods are typically neutral in pH, care should be taken when using anthocyanin colors that will shift hue depending on the pH. Purple sweet potato and Amaize® red have proven success in baked applications.
One of the greatest influencers in selecting which natural color to use in your beverage is the pH. While colors like Emulsitech® Paprika and Beta-carotene can withstand a wide pH range, anthocyanin-based colors like Amaize® red will appear bright red in soft drinks and sports drinks at a pH around 3.0, but will shift at a higher pH. In addition to pH, ingredients such as added flavors or vitamins can all interact differently with natural colors, so to achieve the best results, give us a call and we’ll work with you to find the color solution that will work best in your beverage system.
There are four main factors to consider when using natural colors in cereal: heat, base color, use rate, and pH. Because extrusion requires high heat, colors like annatto, Emulsitech® Paprika or Beta-carotene, turmeric, or Naturbrown® ingredients are ideal due to their excellent heat stability, while colors such as beet or anthocyanins may require higher use rates to retain vibrancy. The pH and the base color of the cereal are also important factors. If the base is a neutral pH, anthocyanins such as Amaize® may appear more purple than red. Base material can also impact the final color – Lighter bases could require a lower use rate while darker bases may require a higher use rate of the color to overcome background tones. Applying natural colors through the glaze or frosting process provides an opportunity to add bright colors to cereal that may otherwise fade during the extrusion process. This works well for red, blue, and green hues that are based on beet or spirulina. It also provides a way of attaining natural blues and greens that are permitted in confection-based frostings but not in extruded cereal.
Natural colors are great for confections! Both boiled sweets and gummy candies typically have high acidity and low moisture, allowing for a variety of vibrant hues. These applications require colors with high heat stability, like plain caramels, annatto, Amaize® red, turmeric, Emulsitech® Beta-carotene and Paprika, or chlorophyll (where permitted). For aerated confections, such as marshmallows or fruit chews, colors should be water-soluble to keep the foam intact. These include red beet, spirulina, and anthocyanins. For panned confections, there are many color options available since the panning syrup does not have to be boiled to high temperatures. Contact us to get a custom blend to match a specific flavor or label.
Since dairy products are refrigerated or frozen and are usually protected from light, a wide array of natural colors can be used. The main stability considerations for choosing a natural color in dairy are pH, heat from pasteurization, and added flavors. At a neutral pH, turmeric, Emulsitech® beta-carotene, annatto, and beet work well and provide a variety of color options in the yellow to orange and pink to red range. As cultures are introduced for yogurt-based beverages, such as kefir, the pH is lowered, opening the door to fruit or vegetable-based anthocyanins like Amaize® red, red radish, and purple sweet potato.
Pet owners want the very best for their furry friends, so colors added to pet food need to be the same quality as those added to human food. Natural colors, Naturbrown® ingredients, and caramel colors, as well as custom color blends, create appetizing hues to replace FD&C colors or iron oxides for pet foods – from dry extruded kibbles to gravies to baked treats. Whether you’d like a meaty red, seasoned yellow, or beefy brown, you’ll get the best, most cost-effective color so consumers can feel good about what they feed their pets.
Natural colors commonly used in savory applications are turmeric, beta carotene, and paprika, due to their heat stability and versatility. Depending on the matrix, a better color may be achieved by adding color emulsions. Emulsitech® Paprika and Beta-carotene offer vibrant, more evenly dispersed color across multiple phases. Need a simple label brown alternative to caramel color? Naturbrown® ingredients are created from fruit or vegetable juice concentrates and can add golden to deep rich brown color to soup bases. They can be labeled simply as “cooked [fruit/vegetable] juice concentrate”.
Baked and fried snacks require colors with high heat stability like annatto, Emulsitech® Beta-carotene or Paprika, turmeric, and Naturbrown® ingredients. Fried snacks require water soluble colors to prevent the color from migrating out of the snack item into the frying oil. Annatto, beet, and Naturbrown® ingredients are good choices for avoiding color leaching.
For snack seasonings, many natural color powders are available to pair with the bold flavors for snack coatings. Heat stable powder colors can be added directly to fried snacks just out of the oil while liquid and powder options are available for slurries. For bright seasonings, try our Vibrant™ powders, which have a vivid appearance and are great for spicy flavors.
Vitamins & Supplements
A wide array of natural colors is available for vitamins and supplements when developing new products or switching from synthetic colors. Hard lozenges and gummy vitamins have high acidity and low moisture, perfect for achieving bright hues. Because they are boiled to high temperatures, the most successful colors will have high heat stability. Amaize® red, annatto, turmeric, and Emulsitech® Beta-carotene or Paprika are excellent choices. For tablets or vitamin mixes, our Vibrant™ powders are designed to evenly disperse in powder mixes before compression, resulting consistent color throughout. If varying particle sizes in the dry mix prevent even distribution of powdered colors, liquid colors can be sprayed onto the dry powder during wet granulation, evenly coating the entire mix.
Looking for functional ingredients for your nutritional products? Check out our sister company, Nirowell.