Beet (Betacyanins, Betanins, Betalains)

Red beet juice is extracted from the root of the vegetable Beta vulgaris, or the red beet. They are grown in the Midwest region of the United States and harvested from August to October.

Betanin is the main colouring compound present in red beetroot juice colour. Historically, it has imparted additional colour to wines. The colourings responsible for the red hue of the juice are a group of molecules called betalains. This group of pigments contains the red and yellow pigments known as betacyanins and betaxanthins, respectively.

red beet natural colors natural colours

The hues vary further depending on the betalains extracted. Betacyanins are magenta pigments, while betaxanthins are yellow pigments. The distribution of extracted pigments varies due to factors such as beetroot cultivar and extraction method. A common extraction method involves a series of size reduction processes followed by hydraulic filtering and condensation. Manufacturers control the extraction parameters to protect the colouring compounds from heat, light, pH and enzymatic.

Dehydrated Beet

Ground dehydrated beets will contain all the sugars and plant material from the red beets. It is readily available and is a fairly inexpensive natural colour. It may sometimes be referred to as “ground beet” or simply “beet powder.”

This powder form is not soluble in water. If your application requires a water soluble solution, we recommend beet juice, which can be spray dried into a water soluble powder form.


Beets are readily available for food and beverage manufacturers and consumers in North America. Betalains are available in two primary forms:

1) Ground Dehydrated Beets — the dehydrated beet vegetable is ground into a powder
2) Beet Juice — juice from the red beet, which can also be spray dried into powder form

Colouring from the red beet is water soluble, and the flavor can easily be masked. Although some other natural colours have better heat stability than betalains, betalains do have excellent light stability and excellent pH stability. Generally, betalain colours will not fade in light. Unlike anthocyanins, betalains do not change in hue in response to differences in the pH of foods and beverages.