We’re the International Technical Caramel Association (ITCA). We make sure that people around the world can keep enjoying the pleasing caramel colors they’ve come to expect in the goods they buy. And we’ve created this site to show you how versatile caramel color is.
We all want food that looks as delicious as it tastes – and for many of your favorite meals, snacks, and drinks, caramel color makes it happen! Caramel color has been in the foods people have consumed for many generations. In modern times, it has enabled commercial food producers to offer products with predictable characteristics that consumers expect.
In ancient times, color additives made from vegetable and mineral sources were used to color foods, drugs, and cosmetics. These additives included paprika, turmeric, saffron, copper sulfate, and oxides (iron and lead). To cite some examples, the early Egyptians added colors to powders, face paints, and hair dyes; there’s evidence that wine was colored beginning in at least 300 B.C., and soy sauce has been a mainstay in foods worldwide for centuries.
The first recorded instance of caramel color being manufactured and used widely, however, fast forward to the 19th century. That’s when caramel color started gaining acceptance in the brewing industry as a food additive. Decades later, in the early 20th century, when sales of cola drinks were rising rapidly, caramel color was in use by beverage manufacturers of all sizes.
Today, caramel color helps provide visual consistency to almost every segment of the food industry. Approximately one in 20 food items you can find in your local supermarket currently incorporates caramel color! Visit our Benefits page for a closer look.