Natural Red Food Colors are increasingly being sought out by consumers due to concerns about safety, environmental issues and toxicity connected to synthetic dyes. Luckily, there are a lot of different options available when it comes to naturally derived or sourced food colorings.
If you’re looking for a natural red dye that is water soluble, look for foods like beets or berries. If you’re looking for a red dye that can be dispersed in lipid phases, such as in plant-based dairy alternatives, ice cream and bakery products, annatto extract is an excellent option. It’s derived from the seeds of the achiote tree (Bixa orellana), and contains both natural red pigments and yellow-orange tones that can help produce a wide range of desirable hues.
Another great option for a natural red food coloring is hibiscus flowers, which are rich in anthocyanins. Anthocyanins are a natural, water-soluble pigment and can be used in beverages and dietary supplements to add vibrant hues without altering flavor. Blue corn chips and brightly colored soft drinks use anthocyanins to achieve their color, as do some types of jellies.
If creating your own natural food dyes isn’t your thing, you can also purchase already made natural food colorings from stores such as Whole Foods and online. Look for a brand like India Tree, which makes natural colorings in a variety of shades including red created from vegetable colorants.