Natural colours & flavours

Have you ever looked at a list of ingredients and wondered?

In food, ‘artificial’ generally means  ingredients made to copy ingredient created naturally, rather than using the real thing. Barker’s have a firm belief not to add artificial colours and flavours to our delicious products.

Occasionally, when necessary, Barker’s do add NATURAL colours and flavours to our products. In a world where sugar is less popular, at times the addition of natural colours and flavours help maintain our superior product quality and shelf life.

Why the need?

Most of the time there is no need. We are in the business of preserving fruit and vegetables so our philosophy is to add heaps of fruit and vegetables. Usually we get enough colour from the fruit or vegetable itself. We select specific varieties of fruit with great flavour and colour and often we squeeze our own juices (not from concentrate) in order to retain all the delicate volatile flavours.

We also aim to make smaller fresh batches every few weeks so we have preserves regularly flowing onto supermarket shelves all the time. Freshly made always tastes and looks best!  This means more often than not we don’t need to add any natural colours or flavours.

seasonal vegetablesBUT, life is never that simple, it seems. Consumers expect products to look and taste just as good after 3, 6, 9 and 12 months as they did when freshly made. And while some fruits such as blackcurrant have loads of colour, flavour and acidity, some other fruits ie: tropical fruits, are much more delicate and sometimes they need a boost. So in certain situations we will add natural flavours and colours to meet consumer expectations for flavour intensity over the shelf life of the product.

What are natural colours and flavours?

These colours and flavours come from natural sources like flowers, vegetables, spices, algae and herbs. A colour is deemed natural if its origin is vegetal, microbiological, animal or mineral.

Natural colour sources include:
  • reds and purples from the betanin in beetroot, the red anthocyanin pigments in berries, and lycopene in tomatoes
  • yellow colours can come from turmeric root, carotene from carrots or water extract of safflower
  • green colours from spinach and other edible plants
  • caramel colours are from heated sugar
Rather than hiding ingredients behind an unrecognizable E number, we choose to try and label ingredients simply by using the full name. As an example, instead of E160a we choose to use the words, eg:  beta carotene.