Caramel color has been a “go-to” ingredient in many countries for centuries. It can enhance naturally occurring colors, correct natural variations in color, and replace color that is lost to light degradation during food processing and storage. Caramel colors can produce yellow, reddish, light brown, dark brown and black hues. The addition of caramel color helps consumers enjoy a predictable appearance of packaged foods and beverages. It reduces batch-to-batch color variation resulting from food processing. This helps consumers to visually experience consistency in their favorite products.

In short, caramel color is a crowd-pleaser. More than 30 categories of foods and beverages now contain caramel color—and without it, various items in the following categories might be a lot less appetizing at first sight.

  Baked goods (e.g., brown breads, buns)
Breakfast bars/cereals
Chocolate-flavored confectionary
Dessert gelatins/mixes
Fish and shellfish spreads
Frozen desserts
Fruit preserves
Ice cream
Liquor and spirits (e.g., brandy, run, whiskey)
Cooked meat and poultry
Pet food
Potato chips
Gravies and dressings
Spices and seasonings
Soft drinks/colas
Flavored teas

So the next time you’re admiring a perfectly cooked meal, searching your pantry for a snack, or filling a bowl for the family dog, remember that caramel color may have played a part!

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