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Dd you know Cochineal red pigment?

Sep 18, 2021

Cochineal red is a natural pigment that has been long history.

As early as 4000 years ago, the indigenous peoples of Central and South America used cochineal to produce paint. After being discovered by Spanish colonialist, it quietly brought it back to Europe to monopolize the entire industry, at a price comparable to gold at the time. Although chemical synthetic dyes came out soon, cochineal was greatly impacted, but its naturalness and safety have always been sought after by people.

Cochineal red  history

It can be used as a coloring agent for beverages such as wine, fruit pulp, cold drinks, candies, cakes, meat, sausages, etc., and can also be used in cosmetics.


The marker ingredient is carminic acid.


Properties and indicators: yellow at PH=4.5; orange at PH=5.0; red at PH=5.5; purple-red at PH≥6.0. The light resistance of the pigment in the range of orange, red to purple-red is better, and the light resistance is poor when the pH value is about 4.5 and 7.0-7.5. Good thermal stability. The hue becomes lighter or colorless when encountering iron ions. The compound phosphate has a protective effect on the pigment.

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Source: Extracted from Dactylopius coccus. Grind the dry body of the insect, soak it in hot water at 60-70℃, and stir it from time to time. After a day or so, most of the pigment can be extracted, and after the second extraction, the extract ratio can reach as high as almost 100%. The two filtrates were combined and concentrated under reduced pressure to obtain the pigment.


Limit of cochineal red as food addictive for reference

Food itemMax UsageFood itemMax Usage
Flavored fermented milk0.05Dry cheese0.1
Modified condensed milk0.15Instant grain0.2
Compound seasoning1.0Retort0.25
Cocoa Butter Replacer chocolate0.3Modified milk powder and modified cream powder0.6
Cooked meat products0.5Batter, fruit powder, frying powderProper usage
Pink circle1.0Baked goods0.6
Frozen drinks0.15Gop0.6
Instant rice noodle products0.3Fat emulsified products
Puffed food0.1Cooked nuts and seeds0.1
Tonic0.3Instant rice noodle products0.3
Semi-solid compound seasoning0.05Beverages0.6
jelly0.05