Origins of All-Natural Colors

Natural Occurrence Color Pigment
Black Grapes




Red Cabbage


Red/Blue Anthocyanins: water soluble pigments responsible for the attractive red, purple and blue colours of many flowers, fruits and vegetables. They are sensitive to pH change, being reddest in strongly acidic conditions and become more blue as the pH rises. Used in drinks, jams and sugar confectionery
Beetroot Pink Betanin: The colour of beetroot is water soluble and has limited stability when exposed to light, heat and oxygen. It is particularly suited to frozen, dried and short shelf-life products, such as ice creams and yoghurt.
Cochineal Red Carminic Acid: The water soluble pigment carminic acid (carmine) is derived from the female cochineal insect. Introduced into Europe via the Aztecs it has the advantage of being stable when exposed to heat, light and oxygen. Uses include alcoholic beverages and processed meat products.
Alfalfa Grass




Green Chlorophylls and Chlorophyllins: Chlorophyll is the most widely distributed natural plant pigment, present in all green leafy vegetables. It is a green, oil soluble colour. Chlorophyllins are water soluble and relatively stable when exposed to heat and light. Uses include sugar confectionery and dairy products.




Red Peppers



Palm Fruit

Yellow, Orange and Red Carotenoids: Over 400 different carotenoids have been identified in red/orange/yellow fruits, vegetables and plants. Nature produces carotenoids at the rate of 1000 million tons per year. Most are oil soluble, heat stable and are not affected by pH change. The uses of carotenoids include margarine, dairy products and soft drinks.
Turmeric Yellow Curcumin: Turmeric is a well known spice, used widely in cookery. Its pigment, curcumin, is oil soluble and tends to fade in light, but has good heat stability. It gives a lemon yellow shade in food systems. Its applications include pickles, soups and confectionery.



Yellow Riboflavin: Riboflavin, Vitamin B2, is used for fortification and colouring. It is water soluble, heat stable and is used in dairy products, cereals and dessert mixes
Carbonised Vegetable Material Black Carbon Black: Vegetable carbon black is a heat and light insoluble pigment, used primarily in sugar confectionery.


Brown Malanoidins: Caramel is water soluble and is associated with the colour and flavour of baked foods. It is heat and light stable, but stability in different food systems depends on the type of caramel used. It is used in baked goods and soft drinks.