Natural Food Colors are preparations derived from foods and other edible natural sources by physical and/or chemical extraction with a selective separation of pigments from the nutritive or aromatic constituents. They can be found in liquids, powders or gels and come in a variety of shades from soft pastel to vibrant colors. They can be used in commercial food production and domestic cooking.
As the ‘Clean Label’ trend gains traction, many home and professional bakers are seeking to replace artificial or synthetic food coloring with natural ingredients. Thanks to advances in extraction, processing and manufacturing, natural food colorings are now much more consistent than in the past with less shade variability.They can also offer a more pleasant, mouthfeel than synthetic colorants and can add subtle, delicate hues to products. Unlike FD&C dyes, they do not require batch certification.There are numerous ingredients you can use to make your own natural food dyes, including cabbage, beets, paprika and turmeric. For example, this DIY food coloring for frosting from One Handed Cooks uses beets, oranges and spinach. It is great for kids as it can be made using finger paints too!Some of the most popular and versatile natural food colorings include carotenoids, which have a deep red or yellow color. They are often used in dairy products with a high fat content. Carotenoids are extracted from the ground flesh of insects such as beetles, ants and cochineal. They are also a great choice for reducing the amount of FD&C dyes in your product. However, they are not as reliable as other natural food colorings and can cause an allergic reaction in some people, which is why they should always be accompanied by a full ingredient list on the product label.