Making More Colorful Food Without Artificial Ingredients

A food or drink’s color is as important as its taste. The color of a food product can attract or repel and suggest the item’s taste, nutrient profile, quality, and freshness. Although not strictly functional, we associate colors with specific tastes and sensations – sweet, sour, or bitter, for example – which our brains anticipate.
An orange shade might suggest a sweet or fruity taste, such as in an orange or carrot. A red color may indicate sweetness that’s also a little sour, such as in a strawberry, cherry, or tomato. Green can signify a fruity or vegetal flavor, often slightly bitter or sour, while blue or purple could be fruity, as in berries, or sweet, as in bubblegum.
We Eat First With Our Eyes1
It’s said that we tend to “eat first with our eyes.” What we see is linked to fragrance, which is linked to taste. As a result, the more appealing the color, the more enticing the food or beverage. For example, black ice cream may be interesting and novel but not enticing, while gray fruit juice will likely repel.
In response, manufacturers use color to provide consistency, encourage interest and appetite, and create novelty and excitement. Other reasons for adding color to products include showing their flavor or flavors, replacing color lost, or masking color produced during processing.
Colorful and Catchy Cold Drinks and Cocktails
Color is particularly eye-catching in beverages that might otherwise be pallid or transparent. Bright, natural shades are the most mouthwatering to accompany a refreshing taste. With spring and summer consumers looking for traditional tropical, floral, and botanical flavors, providing colors to match is essential. So is emphasizing “newstalgia2” – experiencing familiar, cherished, and retro flavors in a fresh way.
According to Ofi, 2023’s top trending tropical flavors embrace mango, guava, passion fruit, grapefruit, yuzu, and tangerine. Among florals, cherry blossom, elderflower, vetiver, ylang-ylang, and hibiscus are trending, with vanilla, cinnamon, basil, rosemary, ginger, and mint dominating among botanicals.
All these ingredients are vibrant with color, including shades of orange, pink, purple, green, and blue. However, with consumers demanding cleaner and more natural ingredients, how healthy are colors added to food and beverages?
How Healthy Are Food Colorants?
These additives can safely be used within regulatory limits with artificial colorings well-researched and regulated by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). However, many people may experience sensitivities and allergies, even at recommended levels, thanks to the synthesized components, which can include petro- and other chemicals.
In addition, as part of the growing healthy eating and clean label movement, many consumers actively avoid anything artificial in their products. Synthetic dyes will be rejected in favor of natural options, so manufacturers must be careful to do the same.
Rely on Nature’s Rainbow
Color is everywhere in nature, with vibrant fruit, flowers, vegetables, and minerals in abundance. However, sourcing and extracting sustainably and maintaining purity is a priority.
Sources include the Amazonian huito fruit and spirulina for deep blue and blue-green, beta-carotene from carrots for yellow and orange, and chlorophyll for greens. Manufacturers can also use turmeric for bright yellow, beet juice for deep red, and anthocyanins from grapes and berries for purples, reds, and blues. Crucially, with color going hand in hand with flavor, ensure your taste and aroma ingredients are equally pure, natural, and impactful.
Complement Authentic Color With Genuine Flavor
Use Advanced Biotech’s collection of 100% natural, plant-based, and sustainably and ethically sourced and produced taste and odor molecules to elevate your fresh product or colorful creation. Our range of distillates, pyrazines, thiazoles, and other extracts are also EU-certified and thoroughly documented. Please contact us for more information.

1 Apicius, 1st Century Roman gourmand