Food colouring

From Cookipedia

Natural Food Colouring

Food colouring is any dye, pigment or substance that imparts colour when it is added to food or drink. It comes in many forms consisting of liquids, powders, gels, and pastes. Food colouring is used both in commercial food production and in domestic cooking. Due to its safety and general availability, food colouring is also used in a variety of non-food applications including cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, home craft projects, and medical devices.

We associate certain colours with certain flavours, and the colour of food can influence the perceived flavour in anything from sweets to wine. Sometimes the aim is to simulate a colour that is perceived by the consumer as natural, such as adding red colouring to glacé cherries (which would otherwise be beige), but sometimes it is for effect, like the green ketchup that Heinz launched in 1999. Colour additives are used in foods for many reasons including:

  • Offset colour loss due to exposure to light, air, temperature extremes, moisture and storage conditions
  • Correct natural variations in colour
  • Enhance colours that occur naturally
  • Provide colour to colourless and "fun" foods
  • Make food more attractive and appetising, and informative
  • Allow consumers to identify products on sight, like flavours in confectionery or medicine dosages

Artificial colouring should be used with caution, in particular when using them in food to be given to children. In the EU, E numbers 102-143 cover the range of artificial colours and the following are approved in the EU:

  • E102 Tartrazine
  • E104 Quinoline yellow
  • E110 Sunset Yellow FCF; Orange Yellow S
  • E120 Cochineal; Carminic acid; Carmines
  • E122 Azorubine; Carmoisine
  • E123 Amaranth
  • E124 Ponceau 4R; Cochineal Red A
  • E127 Erythrosine
  • E129 Allura Red AC
  • E131 Patent Blue V
  • E132 lndigotine; Indigo Carmine
  • E133 Brilliant Blue FCF
  • E140 Chlorophylls and chlorophyllins
  • E141 Copper complexes of chlorophyll and chlorophyllins
  • E142 Green S

Natural food colours can make a variety of different hues:

Carotenoids (E160, E161, E164), chlorophyllin (E140, E141), anthocyanins (E163), and betanin (E162) comprise four main categories of plant pigments grown to colour food products. Other colourants or specialised derivatives of these core groups include:

  • Annatto (E160b), a reddish-orange dye made from the seed of the achiote
  • Caramel colouring (E150a-d), made from caramelised sugar
  • Carmine (E120), a red dye derived from the cochineal insect, Dactylopius coccus
  • Elderberry juice
  • Lycopene (E160d)
  • Paprika (E160c)
  • Turmeric (E100)
  • Blue colours are especially rare. One feasible blue dye currently in use is derived from spirulina.

Reference: Wikipedia