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Annatto Extract

Also Known As : Achiote extract, Achuete extract.


Taste Profile

Annatto extract has an earthy and slightly peppery taste.

Usage Tips

  1. Annatto extract is used to add yellow color to butter, margarine, and cheese.
  2. It is also added to processed meats and fish, egg products, beverages, salad dressing, ice cream, confectionery, cereals, cakes, soup mixes, bakery products, spices and seasonings.
  3. It is used sometimes in place of saffron to achieve the same bright yellow color without the high cost of saffron.
  4. Many dishes in America, like arroz con pollo, use annatto for its yellow color.

Common names and forms

  1. Annato (E160b(i))
  2. Annatto
  3. Annatto (Colour)
  4. Annatto (E160b)
  5. Annatto (INS 160b(ii))
  6. Annatto (INS160b)
  7. Annatto Extract (Colour)
  8. Colour (160b)
  9. Colour (E160 B)
  10. Extractives of annatto
  11. Food Colour (160B)
  12. Food Colour (E160B)
  13. Natural Colour (160b)
  14. Natural Colour (INS 160b)
  15. Natural Food Colour (160b)
  16. Nature Colour (INS 160b)
  17. Permitted Natural Colour [INS160b(ii)]
  18. Permitted Natural Colours (INS160b)


Annatto extract is derived from the outer layer of the seeds of the achiote tree, which is native to Central and South America. It is a natural dye that can range in color from bright yellow to deep orange and is quite intense. The color of annatto extract is due to carotenoid pigments, mainly bixin and norbixin, which is present in the reddish wax-like coating of the seeds. It is used both as a colouring and flavouring agent in food products. It was first used in the 16th century in Latin America and slowly spread to the Caribbean, the Philippines, and other countries by Spanish and Portuguese explorers.

Health benefits

  • Annatto extract is rich in antioxidants especially carotenoids, which play an important role in preventing diseases caused by free radical damage in the body like heart disease, cancer, diabetes.(1)
  • It has good anti-microbial properties that help kill different strains of microbes especially bacteria and fungi.(1)
  • It contains compounds called tocotrienols, which helps protect against age-related heart problems.(1)


Annatto extract may cause digestive distress on consumption and trigger IBS symptoms like abdominal pain, cramping, bloating, gas, diarrhoea. They may also cause allergies in some people resulting in itchiness, swelling, hives, low blood pressure and stomach pain.(2)

- Disclaimer
"Information here is provided for discussion and educational purposes only. It is not intended as medical advice or product or ingredient review/rating. The information may not apply to you and before you use or take any action, you should contact the manufacturer, seller, medical, dietary, fitness or other professional. If you utilize any information provided here, you do so at your own risk and you waive any right against Culinary Communications Private Limited, its affiliates, officers, directors, employees or representatives.”