Natural Pigments: Stabilization Methods of Anthocyanins for Food Applications

Regina Cortez, Diego A. Luna-Vital, Daniel Margulis, Elvira Gonzalez de Mejia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The production of natural food pigments continues to grow worldwide. The global market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 6.22%, by revenue, over the period 2015 to 2019. Pigments such as anthocyanins, carotenoids, betalains, and chlorophylls have been used to color foods. However, there are challenges related to color losses during food processing, storage, and commercialization due to a low stability of natural pigments compared to synthetic colorants. This review summarizes the most recent studies and patents aimed at enhancing anthocyanin stability in food systems. The stabilizing methods include additions of copigment compounds, such as polymers, phenolic compounds, and metals. In addition, the exclusion of O2 during processing and storage, hard-panned candy coating methods for blue, green, and brown colors, and various encapsulation techniques were considered. Combining strategies and evaluating new materials capable of stabilizing anthocyanins will enhance their potential for use as value-added natural food pigments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)180-198
Number of pages19
JournalComprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017


  • anthocyanins
  • copigments
  • natural pigments
  • phenolics
  • processing
  • stability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science


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