Natural Food Colors

Most consumers “eat with their eyes”, this saying signifies the importance of color to foods. One has the tendency to associate bright, deeply colored oranges as ripe while yellowish oranges as unripe. In fact, color is an important characteristic for food and beverages as it predetermines a consumer’s perception of taste, palatability and quality of foods.

Consumers these days choose natural colors over synthetic because the use of synthetic colors in foods and beverages has caused negative health effects such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) among children following the findings from the Southampton Six Colors Study [1]. The European Parliament mandated warning label with the statement “This product may have adverse effects on activity and attention in children” on food products containing the “Southampton Six Colors”. Therefore, food manufacturers are prompt to switch from synthetic to natural food colors.

Natural colors can be derived from a wide range of natural sources such as plants, animals and minerals. One example of edible oil is from palm. Palm oil not only contains high amount of mixed-carotene, the natural orangey red color can also be used as natural food colorants for a wide range of applications as listed below.


  1. McCann D, Barrett A, Cooper A, et al. Food additives and hyperactive behavior in 3-year-old and 8/9-year-old children in the community: a randomised, double-blinded, placebo-controlled trial.Lancet. 2007; 370:1560–1567. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(07)61306-3.

Featured Article :

The following article published on the Asia Pacific Food Industry will explain why you should use palm mixed-carotene in place of synthetic colorant. Click on the picture to download the PDF.