New Challenges Arise as Food Manufacturers Say Farewell to Artificial Dyes

Many food manufacturers are going “au naturale” and removing artificial dyes from their foods. While we’ve come a long way from the food dye scandals that plagued the Food Industry in the 1950s, more and more consumers are balking at the remaining seven synthetic food dyes approved by the FDA. These artificial dyes were synthesized from petroleum and many believe that they can have adverse side effects for those that ingest them.

Overall, most American consumers are now extremely hesitant to buy any foods that contain artificial or synthetic additives. In response to the concerns of their customers, food manufacturing giants like General Mills, Kraft, Papa John’s, Panera, Subway, and many others are looking to develop naturally based food dyes.

This is posing quite a challenge to many food manufacturers who are unable to retain the same colors the artificial dyes were able to produce. Some of the complications arise in the processing of new natural ingredients since the new natural dyes being developed are now made from fruits, vegetables and spices. These ingredients all have their own flavors and scents, this means (meaning) food manufacturers have the added step of putting these colorants through a “deodorizing process” to remove the flavor of those items so that they don’t impact the flavor of the food product.

Another problem is the overall scarcity in available natural food dye hues to choose from. Vibrant greens, blues and other bright colors have only been able to be created by artificial dyes. In fact, before a few years ago there was no natural alternative for blue hues in food colorings until the FDA approved spirulina extract as a natural blue coloring for gum and candy. Even with that recent addition, most natural dyes are not nearly as bright as their artificial counterparts.

Maintaining consistency in natural food colorings throughout the food manufacturing process will become vital as major food manufacturers change their processes to incorporate natural food dyes into their products. Konica Minolta has a wide variety of color measurement instruments that are highly capable of preserving color consistency through every step of the manufacturing process.

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