Food Additives: Why Add Color

Most of us expect certain colors in certain foods, and our future acceptance of foods is highly dependent on meeting these expectations. Because food color may vary, it is then added to meet consumer expectations.

What about hyperactivity or learning disability in children? According to the FDA there is no scientific evidence to support the claim that colorings or other food additives cause hyperactivity.

The primary reasons of adding colors to foods include:

  • To offset color loss due to exposure to light, air, extremes of temperature, moisture and storage conditions.
  • To correct natural variations in color. Off-colored foods are often incorrectly associated with inferior quality.
  • To enhance colors that occur naturally but at levels weaker than those usually associated with a given food.
  • To provide a colorful identity to foods that would otherwise be virtually colorless. Red colors provide a pleasant identity to strawberry ice while lime sherbet is known by its bright green color.
  • To provide a colorful appearance to certain “fun foods.” Many candies and holiday treats are colored to create a festive appearance.
  • To protect flavors and vitamins that may be affected by sunlight during storage.
  • To provide an appealing variety of wholesome and nutritious foods that meet consumers’ demands.

Did you know that some tree-ripened oranges are often sprayed with Citrus Red No.2 to correct the natural orange-brown or mottled green color of their peels? Why add color? Because we’ve come to expect it!

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