Follow us:


Carmine is one of the most stable natural colors available. The color shade is pH dependent, orange in acid solutions and purple in alkaline. Carmine is an excellent replacer of artificial food colors and Chr. Hansen offers a complete range of effective, high quality carmine solutions.

Origin and sourcing
Carminic acid (labeled E120 in Europe) is the natural, active color pigment extracted with water from the female cochineal insect (Dactylopius coccus costa) which lives in Latin America and in the Canary Islands, Spain. The cochineal lives on the cactus Opuntia fiscus Indica. Sourcing one third of global carmine production, Chr. Hansen is the dominant supplier of carmine to the international food industry.

Usage of carmine
Carmine has a bright reddish hue and is used in many food products, including confectionery, ice cream, beverages, meat, and fruit preparations for yoghurt as well as other dairy products. Carmine displays excellent light and heat stability and is resistant to oxidation. Chr. Hansen offers a complete range of effective, high quality carmine solutions, including the award-winning, highly concentrated carmine color ‘Red Strawberry Fragaria’ developed specifically for fermented milk products and fruit preparations.

History of carmine
Carmine has been used for centuries. During the Aztec and Inca empires, the cochineal was considered a high valued resource to produce bright red colored textiles. After being rediscovered by the Spanish conquistador Hernan Cortès in 1519 in Mexico, cochineal trade became an important export product for Spain in the 17th century. Carmine’s importance was maintained until 1870 when the red artificial colors appeared in the textile industry, keeping its use only in some special markets, for example local wool clothes and Iranian carpets. However, it experienced a revival in the 1980s when the US Food and Drug Administration banned the use of a number of artificial colorants in food applications.