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Changing from Artificial Colours

Changing from Artificial Colours

FSANZ standards govern the use of Food Colours in of all forms in Australia and New Zealand. Regulations are slightly different in other parts of the world and care needs to be taken on claims.

A change from artificial to a plant extract or a natural colour may result in a loss of colour strength, but it is application dependent. Natural Colours such as Annatto and Tumeric in varied blends or alone have been used to colour cheese products and margarines for decades. Similarly, a number of non-artificial colours are now used to colour starch-based jelly confections, drinks, and a wide range of other products.

The major producers of colours all have significant support data to help identify products that will work in specific applications. However before approaching them the key factors you will need to consider are:

  1. Colour intensity
  2. pH of product and during processing
  3. temperature and time in processing
  4. Packaging – light permeable, (UV effects can be major)
  5. Oil and or water content (Will the colour need to be oil or water soluble or which phase the colour may need to be carried in, or can a mix apply)
  6. If you know particle size can be helpful – particularly in dry mix but also in salad dressings and emulsions
  7. Shelf Life required (If a change in process is needed to add the colour this may have an effect)
  8. A list of key ingredients so any that might react with the colour can be identified
  9. Intended end use of product, Labelling requirements and any price points

A knowledge of the process is helpful as it may only be possible to add the colour after heat treatments or ph modification to avoid colour loss.

So called Natural Colours and Plant extracts are all normally more expensive than artificial colours and application rates may be different.