Natural Food Coloring From Tomatoes

Some readers might remember an article I did a while back about the insect-derived dye called “carmine” or “cochineal”:

“Many consumers may not yet be aware that the red substance coloring their food, fabric, cosmetics or pharmaceuticals could be extracted from the crushed bodies of scale insects.

The words Cochineal, Cochineal Extract, Carmine, Crimson Lake, Natural Red 4, C.I. 75470, E120, and even some ‘natural colorings’ refer to a dye called ‘carminic acid’, which is primarily used as a food coloring and in cosmetics.

Carminic acid is a substance found in high concentration in cochineal insects. It is extracted from the insect’s body and eggs and is mixed with aluminum or calcium salts to make carmine dye (also known as cochineal).”

Although carmine has been widely accepted as a “natural” alternative to chemical dyes, it has recently received an increasing amount of public attention from squeamish consumers.

Enter, Tomat-O-Red.

“Tomat-O-Red® is a patented tomato lycopene-based food coloring formulated to deliver vibrant, stable red colors for a wide range of food and beverage applications. A natural food ingredient, Tomat-O-Red is a safe, vegan and kosher alternative to other common red color additives produced from insect extract, specifically cochineal extract or carmine, or synthetics.”

Tomat-O-Red isn’t marketed to consumers, since it’s a food industry product. However, we can help to create demand for its use by contacting companies and asking them if their ‘natural colors’ are animal- or plant-derived. If they’re still using the antiquated ingredient known as carmine or cochineal, we can now let them know that there is an alternative available.


Related Posts:
What’s That Glaze on Your Vitamins?
Are Animal Fats Hiding In Your Favorite Products?
The Gross Truth About Natural Flavors


Ganaisha Calvin
Ganaisha Calvin5 years ago

thanks for sharing

Patricia Guilhem
Patricia Guilhem5 years ago

Merci pour le partage.

Fred Hoekstra
Fred Hoekstra6 years ago

Thank you Angel, for Sharing this!

Nicole Bergeron
Nicole Bergeron6 years ago

I wish to begin making my own food coloring, but I make so much of my own food as it is and with work I hardly have time. I plan to this year for the Winter Holidays at least, just for the frosting really.

Teresa Garcia
Teresa García6 years ago

Very good info!

Barb Hansen
Ba H6 years ago

great idea, i've actually stained some clothing items while chopping up tomtatoes

Angie B.
Angela B6 years ago

It would be great if you'd make up a lst of companies who use artificial colors in their products so we could contact them about their choices.

Kathleen Cazander


Edith B.
Edith B6 years ago

So, how do we make our demands known?

Vicky Pitchford
Vicky P6 years ago