There are a lot of food items that are colored brown. For example, sauces and seasonings, spices, bread, and coffee, among others. What’s common between all these items? They’re all, most probably, colored with caramel colors.
Caramel colors are the most preferred solution used to give brown shades to foodstuffs. Caramel colors are derived by heating carbohydrates (sugar, corn, etc.). The process is known as caramelization. The colors are available in water-soluble and powder form.
Properties of caramel colors
Caramel colors are divided into four different types based on the way they are processed:
- Class I (E150a)
- Class II (E150b)
- Class III (E150c)
- Class IV (E150d)
Each of the above types have different color intensities and shades and hence, are suitable for specific applications.
Generally, caramel food colors offer excellent heat, light, and pH stability for various applications.
The shades of caramel colors range from light yellow to shades of brown (light and dark) to brown-black.
Caramel colors application
Caramel colors are most widely used for beverages, confectionery, bakery, spirits, meats, flavors and ingredients, spices, sauces and seasonings, pet food, and prepared food, among others.
Sauces and seasoning
Barbeque sauces, soya sauce, and food seasonings are primarily colored with the use of caramel colors. Liquid and powder form caramel colors provide shades of pale yellow, light brown, dark brown, brownish red, brownish black, etc. Caramel food colors are suitable for applications in high salt content edible products.
Beverages require the right color choices considering factors such as the production process, properties of the beverage, packaging materials used for the beverages, etc. Soft drinks such as cola, spirits such as beer, whiskey, etc., can be colored by caramel colors.
Syrups and vinegars
Caramel colors provide the perfect shades for liquid food sauces and seasonings such as syrups and vinegars. These colors are preferred for their strength and because they have the least impact on the flavor of the final food product.
Caramel colors are widely used in flavoring extracts. They help to intensify the darkness, brownishness or reddishness of the food products. These colors are most recommended for some flavoring extracts that have darker tones and sweetness in their flavors.
Gravy and bases
Caramel colors are often used as a coloring agent for gravies and gravy bases. They help enhance the hue of the gravies and make them look rich and appetizing. When applying caramel colors to the preparation of gravy mixes and bases, it is important to consider the final form of the food product – dry or gravy.
There’s a wide range of brown hues given by caramel colors available for different food products. It is one of the most commonly used food coloring solutions that enhances the appearance of food items. When looking for the right solutions to color your food products red, brown, yellow and related hues, caramel colors are the perfect choice, whether for sauces and seasonings, gravies, and mixes, among other foods.
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