Natural Color: Crimson Red Corn

by Laurie Gorton
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Mother Nature paints many of her plants with brilliant colors. Among the cereal grains, colored corn would seem to offer a natural way to give eye-catching hues to processed foods, particularly corn-based extruded snacks and ready-to-eat cereals. But in most cases, the seed coat carries these pigments. This coat, also called the pericarp, is removed during processing, and thus, the native color is lost.

Crimson Red Corn, however, has a clear pericarp and secures its red color in its aleurone layer, the outermost layer of the starchy endosperm. SK Food International, Fargo, ND, partnered with the Northern Crops Institute’s technical team to study food applications for this colored corn.

The company recently completed a pilot run with the crimson-colored corn, resulting in new product applications that include cereal loops and puffs as well as extruded snacks. The red color came through intact, lending an attractive red to the finished products.

“We knew our Crimson Red Corn presented many options for various product applications, so it was exciting to see the different finished products and end results,” said Jennifer Tesch, international marketing manager for SK Food.

Because the color comes through in the finished foods, there’s no need to use color additives to achieve a visually appealing product. Formulating with Crimson Red Corn suits the “clean label” trend because the package’s ingredient legend need list only “crimson red corn” as a single ingredient.

“We are very pleased with how the red color of the corn came through in the finished products,” Ms. Tesch said.

The company conducted the pilot run to provide customers with conceptual ideas to inspire their own products. Other applications include popped products and tortilla chips. Crimson Red Corn is available in 50-lb bags, 2,000-lb totes and bulk truckloads.

SK Food International makes available additional information about Crimson Red Corn ingredients as well as identity-preserved, certified-organic and conventional non-GM edible dry beans, grains, seeds, soybeans, brans, germs, fibers, flours, meals, vinegars, sweeteners, rice products, split and dehulled soybeans, and instant powders and flakes at www.skfood.com.
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