Today, the link between food health, environmental health, and our health is motivating consumer interest in “cleaner” product labels, and in natural and organic products. 

The growth in organic foods is evidence of this macro trend. According to the Organic Trade Association, 2016 U.S. organic sales increased by $3.3 billion over the previous year, for a total of approximately $4.3 billion—about 5.3% of total food sales. 

While demand is surging, so is confusion over what makes a product “natural” or “organic.” Contrary to what many consumers, and even some producers, might think, these two terms are not interchangeable. 


From the perspective of the FDA, the term “natural” has been interpreted to mean that “nothing artificial or synthetic  (including all color additives regardless of source) has been included in, or has been added to, a food that would not normally be expected to be in that food.”1 This consideration does not extend to methods associated with food production, such as the application of pesticides. It also does not specifically address methods used in food processing or manufacturing, such as pasteurization or irradiation.1

If a grower is producing crops that are to be certified as “organic,” there are specific protocols for the process and for materials that are involved. However, if the goal is a "cleaner", safer product label, colorants derived from botanical sources provide a more economical alternative.

Sensient® Industrial Colors offers a selection of certified organic colorants, as well as hundreds of colorant options which are derived from plant sources. As a leader in colors, we also offer the Certasure™ certification program for colors. Certasure™ combines stringent quality testing, comprehensive vendor certification, full raw material traceability and best manufacturing practices to ensure colors from natural sources meet all required quality, safety, and authenticity requirements.

For trusted guidance, Sensient can help you better understand your organic and natural options, and choose the best fit for your goals and budget. 

1.    (11/11/2017) “Natural” on Food Labeling. Retrieved July 25, 2017, from the FDA Web Site: