There is an ingredient we read at the end of ingredients list of packaged foods : Colorants.
Contrary to the thought "colorants are only exist in confectionery, biscuits or chocolate", there are colors in almost every product. Since one of our eating criteria for foods which came from our evolution is color, and because we often cannot look at the odor or taste properties of packaged products, we prefer foods based on appearance. But there have been some changes in these color ingredients since the beginning of industrial food production. The biggest trigger of this change is children.
In the studies conducted in Europe in 1973, it was claimed that foods containing preservative and synthetic colorings caused hyperactivity in children. The public opinion forced the international authorities (EFSA, FDA, etc.) on the subject for more specific studies has mobilized. Some colorants were banned in Europe when it was discovered that several of the synthetic colorants produced from non-food origin (such as petroleum, tar) were associated with problems such as hyperactivity and sleep disorders. In addition to that, an obligation to inform the consumers was brought. Manufacturers have to write a warning that "this food can cause hyperactivity for children " even if synthetic colors they used is not prohibited.
Companies that do not want to write this warning and want to produce more natural products began to use natural colorants. The ingredients that we call natural colorants are generally derived from plants that can be eaten as fruits and vegetables and from plants found in nature. Each color has a pigment name and these pigments are purified from the plant and obtained only as a colorant. We read labels with names such as anthocyanin, beta carotene, turmeric, betanin. As the technology progresses, these pigments are produced in such a way that they will cause minimal damage to the environment and are subject to minimum chemical treatment. However, as in synthetic colorants, very bright or very wide range of colors can not be obtained.
Although this is not a problem for conscious consumers, the fact that natural colorants are more expensive than synthetics is another disadvantage for the consumer. Nevertheless, let's hope that the use of natural colorants, and hence the increase in production, will gradually reduce this cost-related problem. Let's wish the children a more natural and healthier diet.
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