Color provides visual information about a food's quality and condition, and influences the perception of its flavor. In nature, color is determined by a food's inherent qualities, indicating types of flavor, and degrees of sweetness, ripeness, or decay. From very early times, however, people have added or changed the natural color in foods: be it for visual appeal, appetite stimulation, symbolism, or to mask defects. Ah, color tricks...
Today, color additives are used in foods for reasons such as:
- to offset color loss due to exposure to light, air, temperature extremes, moisture and storage conditions
- to correct natural variations in color
- to enhance colors that occur naturally
- to provide color to colorless and "fun" foods
Here are some natural dyes that are being used more frequently:
Caramel (caramelized sugar) used in cola
Food industries are aggressively opposed to the idea of writing "insect based" on the label, but because a subset of the population has food allergies to this bug, beginning in January 2011, you'll be able to find products labeled with "carmine".
Marketing strikes again.