Food scientists have created a new sweet potato which can be used to dye food red as a vegan alternative to carmine.
The Hansen sweet potato™ has been developed using traditional methods as a plant-based replacement for the red pigment created from mushed up insects
"For the first time, we’ve created a whole new variety of vegetable to create the natural color our customers are asking for," said Jakob Dalmose Rasmussen, VP of Commercial Development at Denmark-based bioscience company Chr. Hansen.
The Hansen sweet potato™ has been more than 10 years in development, when a promising pigment was discovered in the tuber of a sweet potato. Years of non-GMO selective breeding followed to increase the pigment content, eventually yielding the company's bright red alternative to carmine.
Carmine is a bright red coloring used in foods, drink and cosmetics. It's produced by drying harvested cochineal females, crushing their bodies to make a powder and boiling it in an ammonia or sodium carbonate solution. It takes tens of thousands of insects to make one pound of dye.
Though insect-friendly alternatives to carmine – or E120 as it is sometimes shown on food labels in the EU – already exist, they're not without their problems, including being restricted to short shelf life foods and leaving an after taste.
"Strawberry red is a popular shade for food products – from cakes to confectionary to milkshakes," said Dalmose Rasmussen. " But until now it has been nearly impossible to make a fire-engine red color with no risk of off-taste without using carmine.
"And as consumers move towards vegetarian and vegan food choices, the need for a carmine alternative has become more pressing. Our new FruitMax® red juice concentrates are 100 percent plant based and provide a new solution to our customers looking to respond to this consumer trend."
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are prepared in the author's capacity and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Plant Based News itself.Reuse this content
Some of our articles are published as a team, which means the article has been produced by a collection of people rather than one author. If you have any questions regarding what is written above please contact us.
Since you're here...
Plant Based News is a FREE service that receives millions of views each week. This takes a lot of our personal time, money and hard work. But we do it because we KNOW it makes a difference. If those following our reporting helped by contributing, we could do even more. Please consider supporting us so we can create further awareness about animal rights, environmentalism, ethical consumerism and the plant-based lifestyle. Not a false narrative - but information that empowers people to make better choices.