The Colors of Health: Chemistry, Bioactivity, and Market Demand for Colorful Foods and Natural Food Sources of Colorants

Elvira Gonzalez De Mejia, Qiaozhi Zhang, Kayla Penta, Abdulkerim Eroglu, Mary Ann Lila

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Abstract

There is an increasing consumer demand for natural colors in foods. However, there is a limited number of available natural food sources for use by the food industry because of technical and regulatory limitations. Natural colors are less stable and have less vibrant hues compared to their synthetic color counterparts. Natural pigments also have known health benefits that are seldom leveraged by the food industry. Betalains, carotenoids, phycocyanins, and anthocyanins are major food colorants used in the food industry that have documented biological effects, particularly in the prevention and management of chronic diseases such as diabetes, obesity, and cardiovascular disease. The color industry needs new sources of stable, functional, and safe natural food colorants. New opportunities include sourcing new colors from microbial sources and via the use of genetic biotechnology. In all cases, there is an imperative need for toxicological evaluation to pave the way for their regulatory approval.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)145-182
Number of pages38
JournalAnnual Review of Food Science and Technology
Volume11
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 25 2020

Keywords

  • anthocyanins
  • betalains
  • bioactivity
  • carotenoids
  • natural colors
  • phycocyanins

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science

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