Most readers recognize that ketchup is made from red tomatoes so it makes sense that it would naturally be red. However, it’s no secret that food manufacturers add dyes to foods to make them more appealing to consumers.
Is ketchup one of those products with red dye or is its deep-red color actually natural? You’ll find the answer below!
Red Dye In Ketchup?
Red dye is not a common ingredient in ketchup. The tomatoes used to create it provide sufficient coloring.
To get a bit into the science, tomatoes contain a pigment known as lycopene, a non-provitamin A carotenoid, that is primarily responsible for giving tomatoes their red color. Lycopene is also found naturally in other fruits and vegetables such as pink grapefruits and watermelons.
You can tell if a product contains dye by reviewing its ingredients on the product label. Food manufacturers are required to disclose the type of dye used if it is included as an ingredient. For example, the ingredients for Mtn Dew reflect that it contains the dye Yellow 5 which is used to give it coloring.
A review of the ingredients of some of the most popular ketchups in America shows that none of them contain red dye. In fact, no ketchup listed below has any type of dye. The tomatoes provide a sufficient color to ketchup that is appealing to consumers.
|Ketchup Brand||Red Dye (Yes or No)?||Ingredients|
|Heinz Classic||No||Tomato Concentrate From Red Ripe Tomatoes, Distilled Vinegar, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Corn Syrup, Salt, Spice, Onion Powder, Natural Flavoring.|
|Hunt’s Classic||No||Tomato Concentrate Made from Vine Ripened Tomatoes, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Distilled Vinegar, Salt, Less than 2% of: Onion Powder, Natural Flavors.|
|French’s||No||Tomato Concentrate (Made from Red Ripe Tomatoes), Sugar, Distilled Vinegar, Salt, Onion Powder, Spices and Natural Flavor.|
|Primal Kitchen – Organic Unsweetened||No||Organic Tomato Concentrate, Organic Balsamic Vinegar (Organic White Wine Vinegar, Organic Grape Must), Less than 2% of Salt, Organic Onion Powder, Organic Garlic Powder, Organic Spices|
|Portland Ketchup Company – Organic||No||Water, Tomato Paste, White Distilled Vinegar, Cane Sugar, Sea Salt, Onion, Allspice, Cayenne Pepper, Ground Cloves.|
|365 (Whole Foods)||No||Tomato Puree (Water, Tomato Paste), Organic Cane Sugar, Organic White Vinegar, Salt, Onion Powder, Spices (Clove, Allspice, Red Pepper).|
|Market Pantry (Target Brand)||No||Tomato Concentrate, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Distilled Vinegar, Corn Syrup, Salt, Less Than 2% Of: Spice, Onion Powder, Natural Flavors.|
|Great Value (WalMart Brand)||No||Tomato Concentrate, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Distilled Vinegar, Corn Syrup, Salt, Spices, Onion Powder, Natural Flavors|
Shi J, Le Maguer M. Lycopene in tomatoes: chemical and physical properties affected by food processing. Crit Rev Biotechnol. 2000;20(4):293-334. doi: 10.1080/07388550091144212. PMID: 11192026.