Consumers are increasingly concerned about the use of artificial colors in their diet. To some extent, industry experts have been able to identify natural alternate sources for synthetic food dyes. Great progress has been made over the years in identification and replacement of red and yellow hue synthetic food colors with natural colors. However, little progress had been made in finding the alternatives for synthetic lake colorants. Lake colors are insoluble in most solvents, providing opacity and superior heat and light stability. They are particularly valuable for coloring hydrophobic foods such as chewing gums, cream fillings and icings. Lakes provide luster and uniform opacity to the confectionary coating that does not bleed or leach to give molted appearance.
Chocolate color lakes that are blends of three or more synthetic color lakes are very popular in food applications. However, no natural alternative is currently available. I have developed a caramel color based on non-bleeding color that can be used as a replacement for synthetic chocolate or brown color.
To make a water insoluble caramel color, alumina sulfate is dissolved in water by adding sodium carbonate. Next, caramel color is added. To this blend, aluminum chloride or acid such as hydrochloric, acetic, and/or phosphoric acid is added to bring the pH around 2.5-4.5. This results in absorption of caramel color onto the surface of alumina. The precipitate is then filtered; the cake is washed and dried. The dried powder is found to be insoluble in water in the pH range of 3.5 to 7.5.
For making the insoluble caramel color, any class of caramel can be used. Aluminum ion can be substituted with calcium and/or magnesium ions. I found using 1 part aluminum sulfate and 2 parts of caramel color gives a pleasant chocolate brown color.
–Ashok Luhadiya, Application Scientist
Thursday, 4th April, 2013