Some colour in the final coating system derives from dextrose browning, spices, flour and crumb choice. Water soluble colourings ensure batch-to-batch consistency, reduce speckling, and prevent migration to the cooking/fry oil system. Coating companies add colouring to batter / breader systems at the phase of pre-dust, batter, breader or any combination thereof.
Manufacturers have the option of adding colouring in the crumb extrusion phase for an ABC type, but not JBC (panko) or cracker, due to standard of identity. Caramel colour adds a toasted appearance to the ABC type. It also can enhance a baked appearance in a microwaveable crumb for convenience meals.
In a steamed coating system for bone-in, cooked chicken wings, manufacturers use annatto and/or caramel colour to create visual appeal. Paprika and turmeric contribute flavor and colour; food companies may label these either as a flavoring or a colouring.