FSL & DDW - Perfecting the Color of Plant-Based Meat Products

FSL’s long-term partnership with DDW brings over 150 years of coloring expertise to the Middle East. Using the bounty of what nature has to offer, DDW offers a complete range of natural and caramel colors for the food and beverage industry. DDWs products, people, and capabilities are solely focused on creating natural colors and caramel colors.

Color preference for plant-based meat products
There are many considerations when choosing a natural color for a plant-based meat product. The top considerations are flavor, base color, thermal processing and the stage and rate of color addition.

The first step in selecting a color is determining which type of meat you are trying to mimic, since different types of meats have their own unique colors. Once you’ve decided on the type of meat, determine if you want a raw-to-cooked look, pre-cooked look, or a flavor like chipotle or curry.

For a raw to cooked look we suggest our Vegared or Russet Red blends. These color blends start off with a pink-red tone in their raw form but fade to a caramelized brown upon cooking. For pre-cooked meat alternatives,class I caramels, burnt sugars, and our Naturbrown® ingredients are great options because they are very heat stable and provide rich brown colors.

For meat alternatives with flavors and seasonings, blends of paprikas and caramels can be added to showcase certain flavors, such as spicy, smoked, or barbeque.

The second aspect to consider is base protein color. For burgers, sausages, or darker fish options, you can easily overcome darker base colors using natural colors like beet, caramel, and paprika. For lighter options like white fish, chicken, or turkey alternatives, stick with light base proteins whenever possible.

There are other creative ways to overcome base colors in different applications, such as using a coating, seasoning rub, or marinade that utilizes natural colors, masks dark base colors, and still shows the consumer the intended flavor.

The third factor to consider is thermal processing. Plant-based meat products are supplied to the consumer either pre-cooked or ‘raw’ for the consumer to cook at home. Be sure to choose the right color or blend of colors for your specific application. The main color choices for the cook at home applications are red beet, paprika, caramels and carotenes. While more heat stable blends are better for ready-to-eat applications like delislices that are cooked during the manufacturing process.


The final consideration is the stage and rate of color addition. Be sure to add color at the optimal stage for your product – Are you going for a raw or cooked appearance? Marbled or uniform appearance? Adding the color at the right stage for your product can help you achieve your target appearance.

FSL & DDW solutions for plant-based meat products

FSL & DDW offer natural color solutions for any type of plant-based meat product you are working with – including raw burgers and sausages, or pre-cooked mince. We have collected the most popular natural color solutions for meat alternatives into a natural color sample kit and filled it with everything needed to get started with beautiful colors for a wide range of plant-based meat options.

Please contact us to request a meat alternatives color sample kit.