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NATURAL COLORINGS

Annatto Extract

Annatto extract is obtained from red seed casings of Bixa orellana a deciduous shrub that grows to a height of up to 3 metres, found native to Central and South America. Bixa orellana is widely cultivated in the tropical regions, whose major producers are Peru, Brazil and other Central and South American countries as well as the Philippines and the US. In South America, this pigment has long been used for face and body painting.
The pigment is composed of carotenoids called bixin, norbixin and trace amounts of crocetin. Although used as food coloring, the pigment is not very soluble in water and highly soluble in lipophilic substances. This gave rise to ‘Water-soluble Annatto’, where norbixin salts are incorporated with potassium salts and sodium salts. Alkaline salts of norbixin (potassium or sodium salts) are regarded as alkaline compounds of norbixin; they are hence classified as chemically synthesized compounds. This lead to its designation as a food additive on 8th March 1968. The compositional standard is listed in Japan’s Specifications and Standards for Food Additives, under ‘Water-soluble Annatto’. In the US and Europe, the annatto extract has long been used for coloring butter and cheese. It was in the 1970’s that saw its widespread use in Japan for processed foods in livestock and marine product industries.

Beet Red

Beetroots belong to the Chenopodiaceae family and are variants of sugar beets. Its root epidermis is red and the root flesh bears a crimson color. It is cultivated in countries such as the Americas, Russia, Eastern Europe, Israel and Sudan. As with sugar beets, beetroots have a good shelf life after harvest. In cold climate regions, where grounds frost-bound are commonplace, the beetroot is widely appreciated as an excellent winter vegetable. Its use ranges from adding a dash of color to salads to cooking them in stews.
One prime example is the borscht in Russian cuisine. Beet Red pigment is obtained from the juice of the beetroot. It can also be extracted with acidic water or hydrous ethanol. Main components of Beet Red are isobetanin and betanin of the anthocyanin group. It is used for coloring frozen sweets and confectionery.

Cacao Color

Cacao is an evergreen tree, native to the tropical regions of Central and South America. Major producers are Ghana, South America and the West Indies. Cacao seeds are soaked in water and then dried after fermentation. This gives the seeds a red color and the distinctive aroma - as cacao beans, from which chocolates and hot cocoas are made. Cacao Color is obtained from the roasted cacao beans by water extraction. Cacao Color is mainly composed of anthocyanins polymerized by heat. It is used for coloring chocolate sweets, confectionery, processed meats and seafood.

Carthamus Red

Carthamus, an annual of the Asteraceae family, is known for its yellow to red-orange flowers and as the raw material for making safflower oil. Carthamus Yellow is the yellow water-soluble pigment extracted from the flower. Carthamus Red is extracted by adding mildly alkaline water to the residue after removing the yellow pigment. Main component of the red pigment is carthamin of the flavonoid group. Although soluble under alkaline conditions, this pigment is essentially insoluble in water. Carthamus Red is mainly used for coloring traditional Japanese confectionery.

Carthamus Yellow

Carthamus, a native to Egypt, is cultivated worldwide in countries such as Spain, India and China. Introduction into Japan is said to be around third to fourth century A.D. by the Silk Road. Yamagata prefecture is now the largest producer but in the past, the plant was known to be cultivated all across the country in regions with warm climates. Since ancient times, desiccated safflower petals (Chinese herbal name: Hong Hua) have been used as herbal medicine. Its flower can be used to make dyes and colorants, and from its seeds, edible safflower oil.
Carthamus Yellow is composed mainly of safflomin of the flavonoid group. This pigment is used for coloring confectionary, beverages, noodles and pickles. Combined with other natural colors, it also serves to make a whole variety of colors for foods.

Cochineal Extract

Cochineal Extract is composed mainly of carminic acid. It is obtained by extraction with water from desiccated Cochineal insects. These insects are sessile parasites, living on cacti native to Central and South America. Carmine dye has long been used in Central and South America for coloring fabrics and body paints. Other major producers are the Canary Islands and Peru. In Japan, the pigment is used to color soft drinks, frozen sweets, confectionery, and a range of processed meats and surimi products such as ham, sausages, kamaboko (cured surimi) and surimi sausages.

Elderberry Color

Elderberry is indigenous to North America and Europe, but some regions cultivate this plant. In Europe, the flower is used as a raw material for foods, herbal remedies and cosmetics. Its berries are used to make elderberry wine. Elderberry Color is obtained from the juice of the berries. It can also be extracted with water or an acidic aqueous solution. Main component of Elderberry Color is cyanidin glycosides of the anthocyan group. Its primary use is as a colorant to wines, soft drinks and confectionery.

Gardenia Blue

Gardenia is a plant cultivated in China and Taiwan. In China, its fruit is used as ethnomedicine with anti-inflammatory and diuretic properties and as a colorant for foods. Extract from Gardenia gives ‘Gardenia Yellow’, whereas ‘Gardenia Blue’ is obtained by β-glucosidase reacting to proteins in the mixture of iridoid glycosides. Gardenia Blue has excellent heat and light stability. It is primarily used in combination with yellow colorants to make green coloring for foods.

Gardenia Red

Gardenia Red is produced by hydrolysis and chemical reactions with proteins of iridoid glucosides extracted from the yellow pigment or from the fruit. Gardenia Red has excellent heat and light stability and is used for coloring mainly confectionery and noodles.

Gardenia Yellow

Renowned for its fragrance in early summer, Gardenia is known as an age-old Chinese herbal remedy, a mention of which can be found in the second volume of Shen nung pen Ts’ao king (ancient Chinese book on agriculture and medicinal plants). Aside from medicinal uses, it acts as a yellow coloring for foods and beverages. In Japan, it is used for coloring foods such as candied chestnuts, vinegared dishes and pickles. Major components of Gardenia Yellow are types of carotenoid called crocin and crocetin.
Because of its vibrant yellow color in alkaline, this pigment is commonly used in ramen noodles made with kansui (an alkaline preparation). Furthermore, crocins are hydrophilic; a property distinct from other common carotenoids. Currently, raw materials are sourced from Taiwan and China.

Grape Juice Color

Grape Juice Color is obtained from Fox grape. Fox grapes are known for their fullness of juice, its sweet aroma and its ease of separating the skin from its flesh. Once sediments are removed, the pigment is obtained from this juice or from its concentrate. Grape Juice Color is mainly composed of anthocyanins, exhibiting red to red-purple color. It is used for coloring soft drinks and confectionery.

Grape Skin Color

Grape Skin Color is obtained from Vitis vinifera, whose original species is said to have come from West Asia and regions around the Caspian Sea. It is now cultivated all across Europe and the Americas. Pigments from these thick-skinned grapes are obtained by re-extraction from pomace produced in wine or juice making. Main components of Grape Skin Color, likewise with Grape Juice Color, are anthocyanins. It is used for coloring soft drinks and confectionery.

Japanese Persimmon Color

Persimmons are deciduous trees of the Ebenaceae family, endemic to East Asia, especially around the Chang Jiang river basin. Its fruit, called kaki, ripens to an orange color in the autumn. After fermenting and dry roasting the kaki fruit, the color pigment is obtained either by extraction with hydrous ethanol, or with a mildly alkaline aqueous solution and subsequent neutralization. Japanese Persimmon Color is composed mainly of flavonoids that exhibit the red-orange color. It is used for coloring noodles, confectionery and processed seafood.

Lac Color

Lac is the resinous secretion of Laccifer lacca. This insect, whose habitat is distributed between Thailand and Southern China, colonizes the branches of host trees and coats them with the resinous secretion. The coated branches are called sticklac. Lac pigment is obtained by scraping off the lac from the sticklac, extracting with boiling water followed by purification. It is mainly composed of laccaic acids. Lac Color is used in jelly, confectionery and surimi products such as kamaboko.

Monascus Color

Monascus purpureus, of phylum Ascomycota, is known as the koji mould that makes red-colored Japanese sake. A pigment called ‘Monascus Color’ is obtained from Monascus purpureus cultures by solvent extraction wit h hydrous ethanol or hydrous propylene glycol. Known for its dyeing affinity to proteins, Monascus Color is mainly composed of ankaflavins and monascolubrins of the azaphilone group. It is used for coloring processed meats and seafood.

Monascus Yellow

Monascus purpureus is known as the koji mould that makes red-colored Japanese sake. Monascus Yellow is obtained by first drying out cultures of Monascus purpureus, which is then pulverized for extraction with ethanol made mildly acidic by hydrochloric acid and subsequent neutralization. Monascus Yellow is composed mainly of xanthomonacins, which emit fluorescence. It is primarily used for coloring jelly and frozen confectionery.

Paprika colour

Paprika is native to tropical America. It belongs to the same species as chilli peppers and bell peppers currently cultivated in the Mediterranean countries, Hungary, US and Mexico. Paprika is one of the sweet pepper varieties that do not contain much capsaicin among the Solanaceae family. The chilli pepper pigment is also known as Paprika Color. It is an oil soluble carotenoid pigment that is extracted from the flesh of mainly paprika fruits. Its major component is capsanthin. The chilli pepper pigment is used as coloring for fat and oil products, and as emulsifiers for surimi seafood, pickles and sauces.

Purple Corn Color

Corn belongs to the Poaceae family and is a crop grown since the ancient times in Central and South America. It is now cultivated worldwide with the Americas as its largest producers. Colors derived from corn include white, yellow, orange, red, red-violet, green and blue. Extracted from the kernels in water or mildly acidic aqueous solutions, the Purple Corn Color is used for coloring beverages, confectionery and pickles.

Purple Sweet Potato Color

Genus Ipomoea is native to Southern Mexico and Central America. First introduction into Japan is said to be in 1597, through Miyakojima. Early in the seventeenth century, it was brought to Satsuma and Nagasaki; subsequently, its cultivation gradually spread across the southern regions of Kyushu. Purple sweet potato - known as the Yamakawamurasaki sweet potato - is a species of the sweet potato cultivated in Kagoshima prefecture. Purple Sweet Potato Color is obtained from the tuberous root by water extraction. Purple Sweet Potato Color is mainly composed of anthocyanins. It is used to color candies and other confectionery.

Red Cabbage Color

Red cabbages have fleshier and more tightly bound leaves than regular cabbages. Its leaves are red to purple in color. These edible cabbages are also known as purple cabbages. Red Cabbage Color is extracted from the leaves with a mildly acidic aqueous solution at room temperature. Red Cabbage Color is mainly composed of anthocyanins. It is used for coloring beverages, frozen sweets, confectionery and pickles.

Red Radish Color

Daikon radish is a vegetable belonging to the Brassicaceae family, originating in the Mediterranean regions and the Middle East. There are records of its consumption from as far back as ancient Egypt. There are various different shapes and colors of radish, most commonly with white epithelia, but many are also non-white, like the edible red radish with red-purple roots. Red Radish Color is obtained from the red radish roots by extraction with a mildly acidic aqueous solution or an ethanol water solution. Red Radish Color is mainly composed of anthocyanins. It is used for coloring beverages, frozen sweets, confectionery and pickles.

Tamarind Color

Endemic to tropical Africa, tamarind is cultivated in tropical and subtropical regions of India, South East Asia and Africa. It is widespread in the tropical regions and preferred for gardens and as roadside trees, helped by its beautiful aesthetics. The tree produces two types of fruit; the acidulous of the two is used as a spice for soups, whereas with the sweeter, the flesh is eaten as it is or made into juice and jam. Since ancient times, it has been used as a herbal remedy because of its known medicinal properties.
Tamarind Color is obtained from the roasted seeds by extraction with mild alkaline aqueous solution, followed by neutralization. Tamarind Color is mainly composed of flavonoids, giving off a red-brown color. It is used for coloring fish surimi, ground meats and confectionery.

Turmeric Color

Turmeric is a perennial plant, native to tropical Asia and India. In Japan, cultivation is seen in Okinawa, southern Kyushu and Yakushima Island, although indigenous types also exist. It is commonly used as the main spice in curry powder. Turmeric Color is extracted from desiccated turmeric rhizomes with either hexane or acetone. Main component of the Turmeric Color is curcumin. It is used as coloring for pickles, candied chestnut syrup and confectionery.
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