Synthetic colourants impart bright hues to food products; however, are highly associated with hazards for human health and the environment.
One of the emergings, sustainable methods is the use of algae to extract various food colourants and pigments.
What are the key sustainability benefits?
The use of algae significantly reduces CO2 emissions during cultivation and processing. Apart from providing natural colours to food and beverages, they are also a natural source of nutrition, thus providing multiple benefits to the consumers.
The use of algae as raw material also fetches the premium value for producers.
How does this work?
Algae are cultivated in ponds or photobioreactors and harvested using suitable techniques. The harvested wet algae are treated with suitable physical and chemical methods to extract the pigments. The extracted pigment is purified and can be used as colourants in food industries.
Where is innovation needed (which part of the process)?
The challenge lies in the cultivation of algae owing to the high costs involved in harvesting. Today, different methods such as sedimentation, filtration and centrifugation are used, of which centrifugation is critical for biomass quality, which also adds to the cost.
Innovations in efficient algae harvesting techniques at low cost is needed.
Dutch company debuts blue food coloring made from algae
The new products allow food and beverage makers to formulate instant beverages, hard-panned items, fondant icing, white chocolate and other products with a higher-intensity blue color made from a natural and traceable source
Microbial Pigments in the Food Industry—Challenges and the Way Forward
This review highlights the significance of color in the food industry, why there is a need to shift to natural food colors compared to synthetic ones and how using microbial pigments as food colorants, instead of colors from other natural sources, is a preferable option