Kitchen Chemistry: Colourful Food

What makes our food so colourful

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Food comes in all sorts of different colours, and those colours come from molecules – tiny particles that join together in different combinations.

Food CooouringWho doesn’t love a good crunchy carrot? Carrots get their bright orange colour from a molecule called ‘beta carotene’. Juicy cherries, blueberries and strawberries get their red and purple colours from a molecule called ‘anthocyanin’. It’s what makes pansies purple too!

Molecules that make things look a certain colour are called pigments. Most pigments in food are natural, but some are synthetic – created by food scientists. Maybe you’ve got small bottles of food colouring in your cupboards – why not ask mum and dad?

CarrotyAnd here’s a tip! Next time you are in the supermarket look at the ingredients on different packets. It’s a great way to learn more about what is in the food you’re eating, and see what makes it look and taste the way it does.

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