Soy Sauce

Soy sauce represents a huge customer sector for liquid caramel colours. In Asia, the demand for caramel colour in soy sauce is greater than the demand for caramel colour in beverages. Discovered in China more than 2,500 years ago, soy sauce is one of the world’s oldest condiments. Its flavor and flavor-enhancing properties make it the base for a variety of other sauces including steak, teriyaki, hoisin, and marinade. There are two distinct types of soy sauces – those that are naturally brewed and those using a non-brew process.

Class III Caramel Colours are commonly used in high-salt sauces because Class III Caramel Colours have a positive charge. This makes a Class III Caramel Colour a better solution for salt stability in a salty food or beverage product, such as soy sauce, than a darker Class IV Caramel Colour – which does not have high salt stability.

soy sauce

Salt stable caramel colours will not precipitate out into the soy sauce. For salty sauces such as soy sauce, we might recommend a beer caramel or sauce caramel such as DDW 203, a Class III Caramel Colour that has a positive ionic charge and is salt stable.

A huge diversity of Asian sauces translates to various caramel colour requirements for redness, salt stability, pH, viscosity, and flavor characteristics. High temperature and time in hot fill processing also factor into selection. In any region, the amount of vinegar in a sauce impacts colourant choice.

Selecting the Right Caramel Colour for Soy Sauce

For a caramel colour to be applied in soy sauce, there are two major requirements – hue and salt stability. The caramel colours for soy sauces in Asia need to have stability in 20% salt solution. Caramel colours that are not salt-stable will form a haze in soy sauce followed by a precipitate. While some negatively-charged soft drink type caramels (such as D.D. Williamson Caramel Colour #105) are formulated to be salt-stable, because of the high use level of caramel in the soy sauce, sulfites would need to be labeled in those countries requiring it.

For information on using DDW caramel in your soy sauce or similar application, see our Technical Tips.

Fish & Oyster Sauces

People may use fish and oyster sauce interchangeably in conversation, but the two have different sources, processes, and uses.

In Southeast Asia, both fish sauce and oyster sauce utilize caramel colour DDW 201, DDW 203, or DDW 301 for salt stability and red hue.