Should Food Manufactures Use Food Colouring to Attract Young Children?
Would you drink yellow grape juice or eat blue strawberry ice cream? What about green ketchup? Food manufacturers have used food colourings to make their products more appetizing to consumers. The relation between taste and colour is logical. Since grapes are purple, we will immediately know what the purple sodas will taste like. Blue candy will taste like blueberry. Red candy will taste like raspberry. Food colourings are responsible to add colour to many kinds of processed food. Without it, our sausages would look grey.
Hello everyone! In my second round of research, I will talk about the purposes of food colouring, where food colouring is found, food colouring restrictions in the UK, and some types of natural food colouring.
So why are food colourings used for? You may be surprised that it does more than just enhancing food’s appearance. Vegetables and fruits, just like everything else on Earth, aren’t perfect. Food colourings are added to help these foods correct their natural variations in colour. When a batch of pears varies in colour, some fruit produce dips them in dyes to give them a uniform colour. Food colourings also provide colour to colourless foods. For example, margarine has a natural white colour, some people found it unappetizing so manufacturers coloured them to increase sales. Food colourings are also used to communicate with customers. People can identify the flavours of juices and ice cream just by looking at it. (1)
Did you know In the UK, food products with artificial food colourings have a warning label on them? The label reads “this product may have a diverse effect on activity and attention in children”. (2) Many manufactures rather use natural food dye than putting a warning label on their products. For example, if you find a nutrition grain cereal bar in the US, it will contain red #40, yellow #6, and blue #1. However, the same bar in the UK replaced these with natural colourings of beetroot red, annatto, and paprika extract. Brands like Coca-Cola, Walmart, and Kraft in the UK have also removed artificial colourings from their product line in response to customer demand and the Southhampton study (food colouring experiment) that showed an adverse effect of food colourings on health.
Artificial food colourings are found everywhere in foods like candies and cereals. While more companies are realizing the adverse effects of food colouring in candies and eliminating them, there is still an enormous category of food left unnoticed. Those are the “healthy” foods. Next, I will list some food that surprisingly contains a lot of synthetic dyes. (3) First on the list is canned fruit. Even though fruit is very vibrantly coloured, many manufactures still add dyes like red #3 in these cans. Rather than eating canned fruits for your desserts, simply swap it out with some fresh and natural fruits. Most people like to add dressings to their healthy veggie salads. However, not all dressings are made from natural ingredients. Salad dressings are also a common place where synthetic dyes are found. Berry and Catalina’s dressings often get their hue from red #40 and blue #1. Pickles are also funded making with an incredible amount of yellow colourings. On top of that, It also contains a preservative called sodium benzoate which damages your mitochondria. Famous maple syrup brands added caramel food colour to improve the colour of the syrup. Other items that contained food dyes are peanut butter, jerky, yogurt, applesauce, Doritos (4), and popcorn.
Not all food colourings are harmful to your body. Some companies like Kraft and Pizza Hut have eliminated artificial dyes and started using natural food colourings. Some common natural food pigments are carotenoids, chlorophyll, anthocyanin, and turmeric. (5) Carotenoids have a deep red, orange, or yellow hue. You can find this colouring in the bright orange coloured of pumpkins and sweet potatoes. Chlorophyll gives a green colour and it is found in all green plants. Sometimes the green colour in mint or lime flavoured treats are made from Chlorophyll. The type of colouring found in grapes and blueberries are called anthocyanin. Anthocyanin is a natural source of deep purple and blue dye. It’s soluble in water so it can be used to make colourful soft drinks and jellies. Another popular type of natural food dye is called turmeric. It is added to mustard and curry to give their distinct deep yellow colour. Turmeric has been used in India for thousands of years as a spice, dye, and medical herb.
I hope you learned something interesting today! Today I was quite scared when I discovered yellow #5 in my favourite mango soft candy. Next time when you are diving into your chips and yogurt, be sure to look for any signs of artificial dyes in the ingredients!