Natural Colours

By Industry

The beverage industry is the biggest user of food colours. Almost all colour shades can be found worldwide and the main ones are brown, orange, yellow, and red. Natural colours are commonly used, and this natural trend has become of increasing importance. Natural colours are suitable for beverage applications such as fruit/flavored still drinks, carbonated soft drinks, dilutables, beers and ciders, and are able to withstand standard technological treatment and storage conditions. Our trusted partner, Chr. Hansen has a wide range of natural colours, which are suitable for beverage systems. Our anthocyanin products, beverage manufacturers can obtain all colours shades within orange, red and purple, and our CapColors® are a good solution for cloudy beverages. Our technical experts can help recommend exactly the right colour for any beverage application.

With access to one of the world’s leading colour suppliers with a history of being the primary supplier of high-grade natural colours, for cereal and cereal products, we produce and supply natural and synthetic colours that give these products value added benefits. With development and application centers worldwide, we can take on new challenges and formulate innovative solutions to fit any colour need cereal manufacturers may have.

In mature cheeses, the typical colours are in the yellow/orange shades. Mostly annatto or beta-carotene are used. Furthermore, chlorophyllin can be used for decolorisation of cheese, and within fresh cheese a wider range of colours are applicable. Our partner  has 125 years of experience within colours, and can supply the full range: beta-carotene, annatto, turmeric, carmine, paprika and beet, as well as special blends. Thus, we can offer any natural solution, and can play with colour shades within the limitations given by nature. Furthermore, some of our colours have functional health benefits.

Lake Foods has access to a full colour range for all segments in the confectionery industry. The colours used are mainly water-soluble, but oil-soluble col ours are also available for fat-based confectionery. Within natural colours, the popular shades of yellow, red, green and violet come as turmeric, natural carotene, carmine, chlorophyll and anthocyanin, but also caramel and carbo vegetabilis are used. In countries where allowed, annatto is a good orange-yellow colour solution. CapColors are a special stable range with excellent functionality, which provides superior performance in many confectionery applications. Our sugar confectionery pilot plant allows us to support our customers in choosing the right colour range for a specific confectionery application. We enjoy being a partner and developing new ideas together with our customers.

Fermented Milks
Colours added to fermented milk mostly reflect a flavor from the world of fruits and berries. This means mainly within the red-orange-yellow specter. Lake Foods offers a full range of natural colours: beta-carotene, annatto, turmeric, carmine, and beet. Thus, we can offer any natural solution and can play with colour shades within the limitations given by nature. With our expertise in product applications, we can provide extensive technical support and customized solutions – being innovative or cost-efficient – in our state-of-the art pilot facilities.

Fruit Preps
The main colour shades used in the fruit preparation industry are red and yellow-orange, which can be achieved with anthocyanins, carmine, turmeric, paprika and annatto. Natural colours are preferred and mainly used. When choosing a natural colour for fruit preparations, key parameters to consider are heat stability and performance in the final application, i.e. fruit yogurt. The fruit preparation industry is using more natural colours. Food manufacturers who apply fruit preparations are focusing on the fresh, healthy aspects of fruits, and fruit preparations are key ingredients in value-added applications such as fruit yogurt.

Ice And Desserts
The range of natural colours is suitable for the numerous different requirements of the ice cream and dessert industries. We have a variety of solutions to match the dominant colours of yellow, brown and red, but are also able to provide more exciting shades such as orange, purple, pink and green. With regard to both colour shade and technical properties, our products can meet almost any challenge. We combine this with our technical expertise to help our customers meet consumer demands for innovative and indulgent products. In this way we give them a leading edge in the battle for market share in this very competitive market.

Using natural colours can increase the visual appeal of your snack, whether you need a subtle colour or a huge punch of vibrancy. Colours can be added into seasonings already used on your product or added to oil slurries, clear coat batters, snack fillings, dips, crackers or extruded dough. If your specialty is natural snacks, natural colours are perfect for any application. Coming from our own extraction and processing facilities, our natural colours can make your product stand out from the crowd.

The yellow fats industry mainly works with colours in the yellow and orange shades, and we recommend: beta-carotene, annatto, turmeric and natural carotene, as well as blends of these. Thus, we can offer any natural solution and can work with all colour shades. Furthermore, some of our colours have functional health benefits, and we also offer blends of vitamins and colours. With our expertise in product application, we can provide extensive technical support and customized solutions – being innovative and cost-efficient – in our state-of-the art pilot facilities.


Annatto colour comes from the seeds of the shrub Bixa orellana L. Indigenous to South America and Africa, annatto seeds have long been valued as a spice for flavoring and colouring savoury dishes. Annatto colours range from a light, yellowish orange to a deep, blood orange. The extract is particularly well suited to colouring of cheese, spreads and fish. These colours also display good light and heat stability. Our partner has a full range of annatto products including water-soluble, oil-soluble, acid-stable and encapsulated formulations.

Red Beet
Red beet colour is obtained by squeezing out, concentrating and pasteurising the juice of beetroots, Beta vulgaris. The root grows naturally in all temperate regions and is eaten raw or cooked in many parts of the world. Red beet colour gives a bright red to bluish red hue, depending on processing and application. It is commonly used in yogurts, ice cream and soups, and shows good light and pH stability.

Natural Carotenes
Extracted from fruits of the oil palm tree, Elaeis guineensis, natural carotene is the richest natural source of mixed carotenoids. The fruit extract is a mixture of alpha, beta and gamma carotenes. It has traditionally been used by Pacific islanders in local cuisine. Natural carotene is yellow with a hint of orange and is used in a growing list of products, such as beverages, spreads and functional foods. The colour also offers excellent light, pH and heat stability. We can offer natural carotene as water- and oil-soluble liquids and powders.

Made from roasted barley, malt has long been enjoyed for its mild flavor in a wide range of beverages, such as whisky and beer. Malt’s natural dark brown colour is favored in many products, including bakery foods, ice cream and cereals. Malt also displays superb light, pH and heat stability.

Lutein is obtained from marigold flowers, Tagetes erecta, found abundantly throughout Mexico. Lutein is a warm, yellow colour and is used in products such as juices and cakes. The colour displays good light, heat and pH stability. The pigment is also used in functional foods, being favored for its antioxidant properties.

FruitMax® is our range of products processed from fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices that can be labeled as food ingredients. Suitable for all key applications in the beverage, confectionery, ice cream, fruit preparation, and dairy industries, the FruitMax® palette covers a wide variety of vivid shades of high quality and stability: from lush green over bright yellow and orange, to vivid red and violet, and natural brown. FruitMax® meets the expectation of end-consumers on labeling, ingredients from natural sources, and bright colours with high taste-appeal.

ColorFruit® is a line of anthocyanin blends derived from edible fruits and vegetables. It is developed using our partners unique technology to optimize intermolecular relationships between relevant anthocyanins to selected stability conditions. Our natural ColorFruit colours offer longer shelf life due to improved stability to light, heat and ascorbic acid, and is suitable for an extensive application range in beverages, fruit preparations, confectionery and water ice. The ColorFruit product line offers four vibrant red shades ranging from red/orange at low pH to purple and violet at higher pH. In addition, ColorFruit colors are SO2 free and kosher.

Chlorophyll is the green pigment found in leaves, vegetables, grasses and all organisms capable of photosynthesis. Common sources of the pigment for colouring purposes include grasses, spinach and nettles. Chlorophyll provides a complete compliment of different green shades, from yellowish green to a bluish green. The pigment is often used to colour ice cream, beverages and confectionary. The extract is also light and heat stable. To obtain an even wider range of green hues, chlorophyll can be mixed with yellow. We can offer a range that includes water- and oil-soluble liquids as well as powders, acid-stable and encapsulated products.

Carthamus is extracted from the flower Carthamus tinctorius and contains flavourings, pigments and other ingredients from the plant. Carthamus tinctorius, also called safflower, is an annual plant native to the Mediterranean countries and cultivated in Europe and USA. Besides a subtle hay flavour, carthamus provides a greenish-yellow to yellow hue at pH values below 7 and an orange-red hue at pH 7-9. This can be purchased as both as a powder and a liquid. In its dry form it is used in blends for bakery products, confectionery and seasonings, whereas the liquid form can also be used in jams and desserts.

Carmine comes from the insect Dactylopius coccus costa and contains the red pigment carminic acid. Found extensively in Peru, Chile, Bolivia and Mexico, the insect feeds on selected varieties of cacti and has been used to dye food since ancient times. Carmine is an insoluble aluminium and calcium lake of the cochineal extract. It has a bright red hue and is used in many applications, including confectionary and fruit preparations. Carmine displays excellent light and heat stability and we offer a complete range including liquids, water-soluble powders, lakes and encapsulated products.

Carbo Vegetabilis
As its name suggest, Carbo Vegetabilis is made from fine particles of carbonised vegetable matter, suspended in water. Important information: Carbo Vegetabilis gives colors ranging from grey to black, depending on the concentration used. The suspension offers excellent light, heat and pH stability, and it is used in liquorice, ice cream and confectionary.

Caramel is made from controlled heating of food-grade carbohydrates and is one of the most common natural colourants. There are four different types of caramel, distinguished by how they are made and used. Caramel’s warm, brown tint lends itself to a broad range of applications and the color is frequently used in beverages, ice cream, bakery products and sauces. Caramel offers excellent light, heat and pH stability. Our partner offers all four types of caramel, most of them both as liquids and powders.

Our partners patented CapColors for the food industry is an encapsulation technology, ensuring that our standardized natural colours live up to the requirements of modern food processing. The most important advantages of using CapColors are: – Improved stability to light, pH and oxidation – Reduced colour migration – Extension of natural colour shades – Increased colour intensity and brightness – Available in water dispersible forms of oil soluble pigments.

Beta-carotene is the most common of the carotenoids and is used extensively in the food and beverage industries. The major part is manufactured by synthesis resulting in a molecule equivalent to that found in nature, the so-called nature-identical beta-carotene. Our partner offers a range of low concentration beta-carotene solutions, including both water- and oil-soluble formulations. They are especially suitable for use in processes where high-density products or powders may cause production problems. Our partner has recently introduced a numbers of high concentrated powder products with some unique shades to be used within our core industries; e.g. beverages. Besides its coloring properties, beta-carotene is a precursor of vitamin A and is converted to this essential nutrient in the body. It is also a well-known antioxidant and is believed to have a preventive effect on a number of degenerative diseases.

There are over 300 different naturally occurring types of anthocyanin. These are responsible for the red to blue colours of various fruits and vegetables, such as grapes, elderberries, black currants, purple carrots, sweet potato, red raddish and red cabbage. Anthocyanin colours change according to pH, from a raspberry colour at pH 3 to a deeper, blueberry red at pH 5. These colours offer good light, heat and pH stability in most applications and can withstand pasteurisation and UHT treatment. Anthocyanins are widely used in beverages, confectionary, jellies and jams. Being polyphenols, attention has gathered on the possible health benefits of the anthocyanins in recent years. This feature of the pigment is likely to be increasingly used in the future, both in functional foods and health-food products.

Annatto/Turmeric Blends
Annatto and turmeric, derived from the naturally growing plants Bixa orellana and Curcuma longa respectively, can be combined as a colour blend for use in the oil and fats industry. Annatto/Turmeric blends are an increasing trend in the yellow fats market. Margarine producers around the world are becoming aware of the benefits, which includes cost savings, that this all-natural colour solution offers. Together with our partner we can create a number of different shades, including a natural match of synthetic beta-carotene.

Curcuma longa L, commonly known as turmeric, is a member of the ginger family. The root plant, native to India, is widely used by locals to spice and tint food and has gained popularity in the West in products such as curry powder. The primary pigment in turmeric is curcumin. Turmeric is greenish yellow by nature and is typically used to colour products such as beverages, ice cream and confectionary. Turmeric-based colors are very tolerant of heat and pH extremes. Interestingly, in addition to its colouring properties, the pigment curcumin displays antioxidant characteristics.

For more information contact David Kruger on 011 409 5114 / 071 683 0895.