Navigating the Impending Red Dye No. 3 Ban in California

An Opportunity in Disguise?

California, the most populated state in the US, is on the brink of banning food additives that will have sweeping consequences for food and beverage manufacturers selling products in the US. Once Bill AB418, already greenlit in the CA State Assembly by a vote of 65 to 6, receives the Governor’s signature—which is anticipated to happen very soon—this legislation will lay the groundwork to ban the California sale of products containing red dye 3 and other additives beginning in 2027. This is the first time in American history that a state has banned food additives and its far-reaching implications are something manufacturers should begin preparing for immediately. Long favored for its stability and intensely bright pink and cherry red hues, Red dye 3 has been the go-to FD&C color for a wide variety of applications—from candy coatings, frosting, gummies, cereals and nutritional drinks to products requiring a prolonged shelf life. The impending prohibition will undoubtedly have ripple effects for companies who use Red dye 3, including product reformulation, supply chain realignments, and even PR challenges. Even though this ban presents significant short-term obstacles, the transition is also an extraordinary opportunity for brands to innovate and meaningfully connect with consumers seeking plant-based products that tell a more transparent story.  

Partner With EXBERRY® For Natural Pink and Red Solutions to Replace Red Dye 3

This transition phase from now until the ban takes effect in 2027, is an ideal time for brands to champion the use of plant-based pinks and reds. Not only will it demonstrate a commitment to consumer health; it will also build trust and foster long-term loyalty because consumers will know your brand genuinely cares about their wellbeing. Wondering where to begin? Consider partnering with EXBERRY® to develop your roadmap for Red dye 3 replacements. Our extensive natural solution portfolio includes vivid plant-based hues made from familiar ingredients like purple sweet potato, red potato, purple carrots and beets, along with turmeric or paprika when the target color is red or orange. Examples include our “Rubescent Red” and “Brilliant Pink” Shades. They’re available in liquid, powder and micronized forms, making them suitable for a wide variety of applications including confectionery products like gummies, marshmallows, hard and soft-panned candies, pressed tablets, chocolates and high-boil candies. These radiant colors are also compatible in cereals, baked goods and frostings, yogurt and fruit preps, ice cream and low pH beverages and syrups. These are only two examples from our 400-shade solution portfolio that also includes a wide variety of pink, red, orange, yellow and violet hues. We know that the Red Dye 3 ban might feel overwhelming right now, but the transition to plant-based colors is a positive gateway to enhanced brand authenticity. It’s also a prime time for head-turning innovation. It offers your brand an opportunity to build a stronger bond with consumers seeking products containing transparent natural colors. Get in touch with EXBERRY® to seize this chance to transition to a clean label future, beginning with vibrant plant-based pinks and reds!