Casings provide the outside layer of sausages, whether meat, poultry, or substitute based. A growing category is vegetarian sausage that utilizes casing – filled with vegetable ingredients for health conscious consumers. Artificial casing types include cellulose, plastic and extrusions. Casing manufacturers can utilize natural colours such ascarmine, lycopene, caramel colour, turmeric, beta-carotene and annatto to enhance the look of the sausage or reduce batch-to-batch colour variations. Approved colours vary by region. Meat netting or tying may also contain naturally derived colouring. Caramel coloured casing offers the following advantages:
- Reduces the need for dipping and spraying
- Provides uniform colour during thermal processing
- Shows visual appeal to the customer
Class III caramel colour provides low pH and salt stability during the curing or fermentation process.