Lush forests, rocky deserts and dazzling sunsets provide an abundance of hues to inspire color schemes that capture nature’s beauty. From soft, green-tinged hues inspired by eucalyptus leaves to rich blues and earthy browns derived from dried pigments, the colors of the outdoors are perfect for any interior design style.
One major difference between natural and synthetic colors is that while the molecules in a dye or pigment absorb some light, the particles of a mineral or plant reflect all the visible wavelengths of light. This type of color, called structural color, gives many of the vivid colors in nature their brilliance. The iridescence of bird feathers, beetle wings or butterfly shells is a good example.
Another way to create color in food is with natural compounds that are not absorbed or deposited, but instead refract and reflect the wavelengths of light. These are known as non-pigment colors. Many of these colors are stable under a variety of conditions, including heat, light and pH levels. The red in annatto is an example, as is the bluish-green color of spirulina.
Natural colors can be used in a wide variety of applications, from beverages to meat, fish and poultry products. They can also be incorporated into the coatings and fillings of ice cream, as well as in baked goods such as cakes and biscuits. New developments in natural color technology have helped to reduce the cost and increase the availability of these products, which have been traditionally more expensive than synthetic colors. For instance, Roha’s INFUSION line of naturally based food colorings allows natural shades to be infused into fat-based foods. This circumvents the need for additional processing steps and sidesteps the need for FDA or EFSA approval, which can be time consuming and costly for new products.