Artificial colours contain no nutritional value and are used purely for visual product enhancement. The 5 most common food colourings have been found to cause cancer in animal testing and behavioural changes in children (Choice), yet they remain in widespread use and in many products such as kids’ cereals, lollies, biscuits, processed snack foods, cordials, soft drinks, cakes, sprinkles and even sausages! Think bright yellow, orange, blue, red and green. Understandably, foods containing artificial food colouring should be eaten in moderation.
Avoid: tartrazine (102), quinoline yellow (104), sunset yellow FCF (110), carmoisine (122), ponceau 4R (124) and allura red AC (129).
Use instead: carrot juice, beetroot juice, spinach juice or squid ink. Mydarliglemonthyme also suggested berry juice, spirulina (one of the superfoods available from health stores), carob and cocoa as good alternatives.
Read more on additives and ways to avoid them: Preservatives, Antioxidants, Flavour enhancers.