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Food colorings and their application in food industry

The food colorings in the food industry are classified as additives and have been used since past times. The natural color of food is sometimes lost during its processes and food coloring is needed to correct the color. In addition, they enhance natural colors by adding them to increase the attractiveness of food. Sometimes flavors are used for easier identification. Some foods, such as jellies, are colorless and are distinguished in different flavors by coloring them with food coloring. Moreover, adding food colors can make it attractive and marketable. However, it is necessary to use permitted food colors within a certain range so as not to endanger health. It is not allowed to use food coloring to cover defects and counterfeits of food products.

All types of food colorings

Food colorings are divided into 3 categories: natural, synthetic, and inorganic.

If the colors are obtained from natural plant or animal sources, they are called natural food colors. Plant colors are different substances extracted from different parts of the plant such as red beet, curcumin, chlorophyll, anato, cartamus, anthocyanins, etc. Animal colors are extracted from the body of some animals, such as carmine which is obtained from a type of insect.

Synthetic colors include similar natural colors and synthetic colors. Some natural colors exist in nature and their chemical formula and structure are known. If these materials are produced synthetically and laboratory using their respective formulas, they are called “similar natural colors”. Furthermore, some colors do not exist naturally in nature and are made from coal tar or chemical methods called synthetic colors.

Another group of food coloring are inorganic (mineral) compounds found in nature or produced synthetically in the laboratory, called inorganic colorings.

Application of food colorings in food industries

Many food colors are used in their defined dosage in the food industry, 10 of which are introduced as examples:


Amaranth is an extracted color from a decorative plant called amaranth in pink, yellow, white, red, and so on. It is also called the cockscomb. The color extracted from this plant is also called amaranth and is red. Amaranth can be found as a food coloring in alcoholic beverages, red drinks, cake mixes, ice cream, jams, jellies, and many processed foods. Food colorings

Sunset Yellow

Sunset Yellow with the commercial name of E110 or the same food yellow color No. 5 is a synthetic and water-soluble food color that is found in dairy products, sweets, sauces, orange snacks, soups, pickles, as well as in medicinal substances such as tablets. It is a multivitamin. Sunset Yellow is in the form of granules or red powder and light orange. Its permissible consumption is 2.5 mg/kg.

Quinoline Yellow

Quinoline Yellow is a green and yellow food coloring with numbers 13 and commercial name of E104. This food coloring is used in cereal products, bakery products, pickles, soups, beverages and its permissible limit is 5 mg/kg of body weight.

Paprika extract

Paprika extract is a natural coloring and flavoring that is extracted from paprika. This natural coloring is used in meat products, sausages, seafood, bread products, dairy and pickles, jams, jellies, sauces, cookies, snacks and chips, etc.


Saffron coloring is the flag of the saffron flower with a wonderful taste and aroma and is a natural permitted color. This food coloring is used in industry in flour and confectionery products.


This pigment, extracted from carrots, plants, algae and photosynthetic bacteria, pink in flamingos and salmon, is in the range of yellow, orange and red colors. This food coloring is insoluble in water and soluble in oils.


Carotene is a fat-soluble yellow to orange pigment and includes alpha carotene, beta carotene, gamma carotene, phytoene, and phytofluene. It is a plant pigment and is obtained from products such as carrots, alfalfa, corn, and Dunaliella algae. In addition, this is used as a dietary supplement as a provitamin. Carotene is used in oily products, soft drinks, yogurt, desserts, sugar, pastry flour, jellies, sauces, and meat products.


Lycopene is a red pigment found in tomatoes, watermelon, pink grapefruit, papaya, melon and guava, and tropical fruit. Lycopene is a powerful antioxidant and in addition to coloring, it has antioxidant and anti-cancer properties and treats cardiovascular diseases.


Bixin is an orange color. This substance is considered a carotenoid. This pigment is used in the dairy industry with a neutral pH to flavor milk and color beverages.

Red beetroot

The red color extracted from beetroot is due to the presence of betaine, which has two water-soluble red and yellow pigments. powder- Food colorings

The most common types of the used artificial and synthetic in Iran are as follows:

  1. E122 red color in all kinds of plums, fruit leathers, and unauthorized red products such as barberry juice
  2. E110 orange color in a variety of yellow drinks and snacks and iced sorbets.
  3. E104 yellow color in bulk grilled chicken and unauthorized products
  4. E133 blue color in unauthorized drinks, pastilles, and products such as barberry juice to enhance the color
  5. E102 yellow color in chickens for bulk kebabs, sweets, drinks, jelly products, and unauthorized yellow colors such as saffron color products
  6. E129 red color in all kinds of plums, fruit leathers, and unauthorized red products such as barberry juice
  7. E124 red color in all kinds of plums, fruit leathers, and unauthorized red products such as barberry juice

All products of Food Lord Co. are made from natural materials without using any additives or synthetic food colorings. Dried fruits and dried vegetables of this factory are produced with the best quality while preserving the natural color of the product.


  1. Food colorings in food industry
  2. Food colorings and their application in food industry


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