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Colorants for cocoa butter, labeling requirements


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Hello All,

I am researching colorants for cacao butter with an eye toward  'natural' vegetal derived colorants. 

My local packaging inspector ( California ) has required me to list ALL FDA approved artificial dyes and pigments, FD&C, Lakes, on my labels.  These are equivalent to EU approved artificial colors as E102 to E143, as I understand it. 

Is anyone else tackling this issue?  Per labeling, this is a substantial amount of information as one multi-hued collection can have 6+ colors.  Other chocolatiers I have noticed use blanket statements such as 'FDA approved colors' or 'Cocoa Butter with Colors'. 

I am hearing hints that the EU may impose stricter regulations on artificial colors.  Some of these, Lakes for instance, seem very dodgy as they are based on metal (Aluminum) salts to disperse the dyes. 

 

Pur is one company that I have found that produces colorants from natural sources on an industrial scale.  Their cacao butters include other additives so I am really interested in how well they spray and perform.  Anyone have experience using these?

Shelf life, color fastness, flavors in the colorants, all these are points of interest. 

Thank very much.

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I've done the blanket statement thing.  Does this inspector work for the FDA, CA dept of Ag, or just in the packaging industry?

 

I suppose you don't have to list each color separately but could consolidate as "colored cacao butter (cacao butter, red 40, blue 1, blue 2, yellow 6, and/or titanium dioxide)" 

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The inspector is with CA Health Dept and approves my labeling and methods.  Good thought on the blanket statement, there are 7 Dyes and assorted Lakes and titanium dioxide, so I could make a generic statement including all of that.  That does seem at odds with high quality direct-trade chocolate and the ethos we hope to uphold. 

Thanks for your thoughts.

 

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FWIW you're already targeting a small market, and within the chocolatier community we don't hear much concern about additiives, so it is possible that the niche or issue that you're putting effort into may not have payout in the end. The CW among chefs is that the trace amounts that are used in a product that is consumed as a luxury not a daily food is nominal and therefore insignificant. Now folks, don't yell at me, I'm just sharing what I hear. I would be all for a more natural product, and of course there are more applications than high end bonbons, but that's my two cents.

 

BTW, @Kerry Beal has shared some info on additives to cocoa butters recently that I didn't know - things added not for color but other purposes. I'll let her share.

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2 hours ago, gfron1 said:

The CW among chefs is that the trace amounts that are used in a product that is consumed as a luxury not a daily food is nominal and therefore insignificant.

 

I totally agree, but OP is in CA, where they've determined that pretty much everything may cause cancer - aren't they putting warning labels on coffee now? 

 

Also, this is where Valrhona's Inspirations could come in handy.  (Or similar concoctions of CB and freeze dried fruit powder.) Between white, blond, passion fruit, and strawberry, you could get a decently colorful box.  Even throw in Callebaut's Ruby if you must have pink 😂

Edited by pastrygirl (log)
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14 hours ago, david.upchurch said:

That does seem at odds with high quality direct-trade chocolate and the ethos we hope to uphold.


Then why not just forego the colored cocoa butters altogether? Just do chocolate shells. Maybe some painting and splattering with contrasting colors of chocolate, maybe even some airbrushing with chocolate thinned with cocoa butter. Combine chocolates for different shades in the spectrum. The 50 Shades of Brown collection. :D I know that sounds odd in today's world of brightly colored chocolates but it's something I've been giving semi-serious consideration.

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It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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6 hours ago, Tri2Cook said:


Then why not just forego the colored cocoa butters altogether? Just do chocolate shells. Maybe some painting and splattering with contrasting colors of chocolate, maybe even some airbrushing with chocolate thinned with cocoa butter. Combine chocolates for different shades in the spectrum. The 50 Shades of Brown collection. :D I know that sounds odd in today's world of brightly colored chocolates but it's something I've been giving semi-serious consideration.

 

You know, 10 or so years ago when I first started making molded bonbons I thought brown was just fine and I scoffed at colored CB.  Then I got some colors and everything had to have at least one, now everyone's doing 3 colors with tape and airbrush.  Maybe there's something to be said for keeping it simple, but restraint can be hard.  Once I get out the box of finger-paints I want to use all the colors!

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8 hours ago, pastrygirl said:

 

You know, 10 or so years ago when I first started making molded bonbons I thought brown was just fine and I scoffed at colored CB.  Then I got some colors and everything had to have at least one, now everyone's doing 3 colors with tape and airbrush.  Maybe there's something to be said for keeping it simple, but restraint can be hard.  Once I get out the box of finger-paints I want to use all the colors!


I understand that. The difference is, you're not saying in regards to having to list what you're using on your labeling "That does seem at odds with high quality direct-trade chocolate and the ethos we hope to uphold." If having to let people know what's in the box is at odds with your ethos then it seems like that same ethos would want you to not put anything in the box you'd not feel good about listing. Unless I misunderstood and he was saying that a blanket listing of the ingredients used without listing out each one individually for each chocolate would violate that ethos. In which case, I don't get it because you'd still be letting them know everything they'll be eating with the blanket statement.

It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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4 hours ago, Tri2Cook said:


I understand that. The difference is, you're not saying in regards to having to list what you're using on your labeling "That does seem at odds with high quality direct-trade chocolate and the ethos we hope to uphold." If having to let people know what's in the box is at odds with your ethos then it seems like that same ethos would want you to not put anything in the box you'd not feel good about listing. Unless I misunderstood and he was saying that a blanket listing of the ingredients used without listing out each one individually for each chocolate would violate that ethos. In which case, I don't get it because you'd still be letting them know everything they'll be eating with the blanket statement.

 

I agree with that ethos too, but have been making exceptions for CB colors. Like those restaurants who say ‘we buy organic when possible’ ... I use fair trade chocolate, no corn syrup in anything, and grind my own hazelnut paste instead of buying the ones with hydrogenated oils. But colorful Easter eggs and multicolor bonbons get so many positive reactions. They are fun to do and I accept mortality so don't personally worry about a few micrograms of titanium dioxide. My problem with adding colorants to labeling is that there’s never enough space!  I appreciate this discussion because maybe there is a better way. Last winter I made sure to order the approved-as edible luster dust. Will I now throw out all my chef rubber colors?  Probably not, but OP has a good point. 

 

edited to add:  also, the colored pieces are a small minority of what I sell so that's another reason why I don't worry more about being 100% pure and natural.  Cocoa-dusted truffles and solid bars are my main products, colorful stuff is only at big holidays.

Edited by pastrygirl (log)
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The problem was at my end. I think I misunderstood where he was going with his question. I thought he was looking for a way to use those things without it showing up on what he wanted to be a clean and natural ingredient list. I read his original post again and now realize that he's actually looking for an alternative color source that doesn't use those things so they don't have to be on the label at all. So basically just ignore what I previously said and things will be back on track. :D

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It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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54 minutes ago, pastrygirl said:

One chocolatier not using a lot of color is Milla in LA:  https://www.instagram.com/millachocolates/

 

Looks like they use a lot of gold dust and the occasional bit of black CB but otherwise minimal decoration.  I appreciate their bucking the trend :) 

Yes, a huge amount of gold dust--and some truly beautiful packaging.

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Regarding the Pur colors mentioned above https://colorblendcreations.com/artisan-colored-cocoa-butter  the colors don't look awesome, and they contain soy.  Which is worse, red #40 or soy lecithin?  There will be people who don't want the dye but also people who don't want the soy, and you also have to label for soy since it is one of the top 8 food allergens.  Chef Rubber has a natural line, organic & kosher.  The colors are also not as bright, but that's what you're going to get with all natural.   https://shop.chefrubber.com/products/18/Natural-Cocoa-Butter/

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22 hours ago, pastrygirl said:

One chocolatier not using a lot of color is Milla in LA:  https://www.instagram.com/millachocolates/

 

Looks like they use a lot of gold dust and the occasional bit of black CB but otherwise minimal decoration.  I appreciate their bucking the trend :) 

Her stuff looks so classy!

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1 hour ago, Kerry Beal said:

Her stuff looks so classy!


I like the way she does those bar inclusions so they show through on the front in some areas.

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It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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Hello All,

Your thoughts are much appreciated. To an earlier point, yes I am looking for alternatives to dyes and pigments.  Mila’s work is great and like some of you and Recchiuti, use limited colors and rely on other types of chocolate for color.  I find that customers respond really well to color, it’s exciting.  Majority of my customers are still unfamiliar with rainbow- bright shells. 

 

Many chocolatier that I see, including my colleagues, do not list all ingredients in their colors. This is the turning point for me, required by my inspector. If I list all these additives my label becomes huge and it becomes a turn- off for customers.  

 

I will look at the threads and products mentioned.  

Thanks again

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Since I've been currently wrestling with this issue, I'm curious whether you've looked into Sentient plant based colors, also the Pur color brilliant powders. If so, what additives might have ruled those out for you. Here I've been merrily going along using them and not checked on other issues they may have. Shame in me!

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  • 2 months later...

OK, so very late to this conversation.  David, I am also in CA.  I understand the labeling requirements.  I mix my own colors, and there are really only four or five lakes that need to be listed, along with the metallic.  So it is not overly cumbersome.  

 

As far as PUR color goes, it is not something that works if you want to put it in an airbrush.  This is because the particulate size for PUR color colorings are too large.  The exception is their yellow, which is tumeric.  I purchased quite a bit of PUR color pigments only to find this out.  The result was that they refunded my money and took the claim that it could be used for colored cocoa butter off their web site.  If you paint with it by hand, then no problem.    The colors you realize will not be similar to what you can achieve with the lakes.  Hope this helps.

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  • 2 weeks later...
1 hour ago, david.upchurch said:

VistaGardens,  I appreciate hearing experience with Pur. thanks!

 

I am looking into Chef Rubber Naturals and the Quebec-made product offered by ChocoaltChocolat.

Hello again.


Just wanted to give you a heads up about Chef Rubber's all natural line. I received an email from the guy that heads up that line for them. Apparently, they have a massive overhaul happening to it, and are just waiting on various test results to come back from the food safety labs. You might want to check with them on the timeline for that, before making any major investment in the current line.

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