Carbonates (Carbonated Soft Drinks)

Aside from brown, the most common colors in carbonates are yellow, orange and red. Natural Colors that work well in sports drinks or vitamin enhanced waters will generally work well in non-concentrated sparkling or carbonated beverages, as well. Purple to red options include grape juice color and other anthocyanins, while orange to yelllow options include DDW’s EmulsiTech™ Paprika, Apocarotenal, and Beta-Carotene. Spirulina and spirulina blends, used to achieve blues, greens, and purples, are not permitted for use in carbonated beverages in the U.S. per FDA CFR Title 21.

Cola concentrates, however, have a pH of 2 or lower, which is generally not suitable for natural colors and simple label browns. Class IV Caramel Colors are the best options for concentrates due to their excellent acid stability. DDW offers low 4-MeI Class IV Caramel Colors.

DDW Caramel Colour in Cola

cola caramel colours caramel colors

Caramel in aqueous solutions like soft drinks must be tailored with other ingredients. Soft drinks normally carry negatively-charged molecules due to tannins, therefore, a negatively-charged caramel should be selected for soft drinks.

An important parameter is the isoelectric point or the pH at which the colloidal charge is electrically neutral. Soft drinks require a caramel with an isoelectric point below the pH of the beverage to avoid flocculation or precipitation. A Class IV caramel has an Isoelectric Point between pH 0.5 and 2.0.

In addition to the obvious function of delivering colour, caramel helps to protect flavors from light deterioration. Caramel acts as an emulsifying agent in preparation of the soda [soft drink] concentrate. This reduces the need for gums and enables storage for long periods of time. Caramels that do not have a strong negative charge and acid stability will haze and later precipitate in the soda concentrate.

Cola product developers usually select double-strength (such as DDW 050 or 055) caramel for its high colour intensity and economy. Some believe single-strength’s (such as DDW 105 or 108) higher specific gravity contributes “body” to the mouth feel of the cola beverage. Double-strength caramel meets the low caloric value requirements of “diet” or “light” cola formulations.