Not a clean label ingredient

Caramel Color (Classes II-IV)

Caramel color is a food coloring which is made by heating or burning sugar (or other carbohydrates) and mixing it with an acid or alkali (ammonium, sulfites). This food coloring is the most widely used food coloring and is found in the majority of processed foods that have a brownish color and is most commonly used in sodas.

There are four classes of Caramel Color: I, II, III, and IV.

  • Caramel Color Class 1 (I): Is made only from heating sugar with zero additives and is believed by some food professionals to be the most “natural” of the group — it is considered clean label by the below listed authoritative influencer(s). Note: Obviously the term “natural” is an undefined term in the food industry and is up for discussion.
  • Caramel Color Classes 2, 3, 4 (II, III, IV): These groups are not considered clean label by the below listed authoritative influencer(s).

 

Sources
  • Panera
  • Hy-Vee
Industry
Ingredient Type