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1 Color Strength and Hue

The color strength of Caramel Color is defined as its Tinctorial Power, K0.560. This is the absorbance of a 0.1% weight/volume solution measured through a 1cm light path at a wavelength of 560 nanometers (nm) using a high quality spectrophotometer. The higher the value of the absorbance, the Tinctorial Power, K0.560, the darker the Caramel Color
The color tone of the Caramel Color is also important. This is defined by the Hue Index, s,  which is the measure of the color hue or red characteristics of the Caramel Color. It is a function of the absorbances at 510 and 610 nm. Generally, the higher the Tinctorial Power, K0.560, the lower the Hue Index and the lower the red tones.

 

2 Specific Gravity

The Baumé of Caramel Color is a method of measuring specific gravity which in turn reflects the weight/liter of the product. The specific gravity of liquid Caramel Colors ranges from 1.25-1.38, corresponding to a range of about 1.244-1.376 kg/l. The corresponding dry substance content of the liquid Caramel Color varies from about 50-70%.

 

3 pH Considerations

The pH of Caramel Color is important in some applications where it may influence the compatibility and functionality of the other   components of the finished food or beverage by influencing the pH of the final product.
However, Caramel Color has good functionality across a wide range of pH from 2-10. Most Caramel Color ranges in pH from 2.0-5.0, although Caramel Color which has been neutralized prior to spray drying may have a pH of about 8. Commercial liquid Caramel Color should have a pH below 5.0 to provide good microbiological stability.

 

4 Ionic Charge

Caramel Color molecules carry ionic (electrochemical) charges which may be either positive or negative depending upon the processing conditions of a particular product. Most of the Caramel Color used today is anionic or negatively charged. However, there are specific applications where cationic or positively charged Caramel Color is required, particularly in applications where it comes in contact with proteins as in soy sauce,dairy,beer and meat products. Often color precipitation, flocculation, or migration problems can be eliminated with the use of a positive Caramel Color.

 

5 Sulfite Considerations

The majority of the Caramel Color used today is anionic or negatively charged. This product is manufactured using sulfite reactants and contains some sulfite as detected by the method specified by the US Food and Drug Administration in its sulfite labeling regulations. While the amount of Caramel Color typically used in foods and beverages is a very low percentage of the total ingredients, the sulfite contributed by the Caramel Color must be taken into account when considering sulfite labeling for compliance. Because of sulfite regulations, there is sometimes a need for a low sulfite Caramel Color. Positively charged Caramel Color is manufactured without sulfite reactants and thus has a low sulfite content. A complete line of low sulfite, positively charged Caramel Color has been developed to assist food processors in keeping the sulfite content of their formulated food products to a minimum.

 

6 Caramel Color In High Alcohol or High Salt Systems

There are also specific products which require Caramel Color which is stable in high salt, high alcohol concentrations. Caramel Color with these properties is available for such applications.

 

7 Viscosity

Since the viscosity of Caramel Color can vary, it is important to realize the viscosity is not a reflection of the color strength of the Caramel Color. In fact, high Tinctorial Power, K0.560 double strength Caramel Color is low in viscosity. Low viscosity Caramel Color is easier to handle, generally dissolves faster, and has greater stability and shelf life.

 

8 Microbiological Stability

Caramel Color has excellent microbiological stability. As Caramel Color is manufactured under very high temperatures and pressure conditions, the resulting product is essentially commercially sterile. The microbiological stability of Caramel Color is attributed to the high processing temperatures, high acidity, high osmotic pressure, and high specific gravity of the products. It will not support microbial growth in its undiluted form.

 

> Other Considerations

 

1 Acid Proof Caramel Color

The term "acid proof" relates to the use of Caramel Color in carbonated beverages. The term means the Caramel Color is stable in a beverage concentrate where it is combined with phosphoric acid and must remain stable for several months. Virtually all of the Caramel Color manufactured by Sethness-Roquette is "acid proof", even that color is not specifically formulated for soft drinks.
 

2 Additional Functionalities of Caramel Color

Although its primary function is that of colouring, Caramel Color contributes additional functionalities in various food systems. For example, in soft drinks the Caramel Color's light protective quality can aid in preventing oxidation of the flavoring components in bottled beverages as well as functioning as an emulsifying agent and helping retard the formation of certain types of "floc".

 

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