FOOD is a source of energy and to sustain we need food. Colors are an inseparable part of food. We cannot think of food without color. Any dye, pigment or substance which is added to food items— solid or liquid—imparting the desired color, is referred to as food coloring. A food coloring agent can be available in various forms such as solid powders, liquid, viscous like gel or pastes. It can be of two types based on its sources
(a) Natural colour and (b) synthetic or artificial colour.
Natural food color is good for health. Need for addition of color to food Make food more attractive and informative as that helps the consumers to identify their desired food products. Also make food more appetizing.
Food colors influence appetite and choice of food. Offsetting color loss due to light, air, extremes of temperature, moisture, and storage conditions, masking natural variations in color, enhancing naturally occurring colors, and providing identity to foods are all essential in the quest to make food attractive and informative.
Protecting flavors and vitamins from damage by light, ensuring a certain quality for decorative or artistic purposes and increasing appetite appeal, making less desirable food more desirable, masking defects, and keeping certain foods tasting fresher for long time are also key
- Natural color of food - Indication
It may indicate degree of sweetness, degree of ripeness or decay, type of flavour, types of fruits or vegetables, and visual information about phytochemical properties that are good for health.
- Natural coloring agent
Annatto (E160b), a reddish-orange dye made from the seed of the achiote Betanin (E162) extracted from beets Butterfly pea; a blue food dye Caramel colouring (E150a-d) made from caramelised sugar Chlorophyllin (E140); a green dye made from chlorella algae Elderberry juice .Lycopene (E160d) Carmine (E120); a red dye derived from the cochineal insect, Dactylopius coccus Pandan (Pandanus amaryllifolius); a green food colouring Paprika (E160c) Turmeric (curcuminoids, E100) Saffron (carotenoids, E160a).
- Artificial colouring agent
Food colouring agents, food colourants, colourants, colour additives, and food dyes are any dye, pigment or substance that can impart colour, alone or through reaction with other substances, when added or applied to a food, drug, cosmetics or to the human body.
The natural colours from plant, animal and mineral sources had been used but due to economic interest, manufacturers had popularised more artificial colours. Aniline was the first petroleum product that is a toxic compound from which several chemically synthesised colours were derived. Basically starting materials were obtained from coal tar of bituminous coal and which were very toxic to health. Artificially synthesised colours are less costly to produce, and are attractive in colouring properties, highly concentrated, and they are widely available and have been used in food, paint, coating, textile and plastics industries. Azo-dyes is another variety of synthetic colours. In this dye, colour can be controlled selecting the number of azo-groups and various substituents. A blue achieved by replacing the aniline derivate with benzidine derivate and red colours by reaction between aniline derivatives (diazo) with a naphthol derivate.
Colouring agent in food has an important role. Without colour we cannot imagine food or its item. Colour makes food and its items very attractive and appealing to taste. Natural Food Colours are good for health whereas use of chemically synthesised arterial colour is not very good for health and their use should be controlled fully by laws by government. Wherever there is use of artificial colour in food they should be mentioned on the container properly in labelling. Manufacturing companies and industries should strictly follow the guidelines in food laws to ensure the safety and health of the general public.