Annatto colorants are derived from annatto seeds that grow on a tree called Bixa Orellana. The Bixa Orellana tree is known as Annatto or as ‘Achiote’ in large parts of South America and as ‘Urucum’ in Brazil. The annatto seeds contain bixin pigment which is a yellow-(red)orange carotenoid. After extraction, the bixin is used for coloring oil-based products like cheese, processed cheese, snacks, fats, oil, butter and margarine.
From the bixin pigment by saponification, norbixin products can be obtained which are water soluble colorants. These norbixin products are used in various food applications such as sausage casing, dairy products, snacks, confectionery and pastry.