LycoRed has received approval from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the use of Tomat-O-Red natural tomato lycopene as a food colouring. 

Lycopene can be used as a colorant for both foods and beverages, in various shades of red. It is highly stable under a wide range of temperatures and the colour does not shift with changes in pH. 

Tomat-O-Red is available as a liquid dispersion or a cold-water dispersible powder.  It can colour a variety of food and beverage products, including dairy and confectionery products, as well as baked goods.

LycoRed CEO Morris Zelkha said: "This FDA approval is important for us since it opens an additional marketing channel in the US and creates new business opportunities. Thanks to its beneficial attributes, Tomat-O-Red has great potential and we anticipate significant share in the red food colorant market."

The market for natural and synthetic food colourings is together estimated at US$1bn and, as a trend, the use of synthetic colorants appears to be declining in favour of natural colorants, according to LycoRed.  The natural food colorant market is estimated at US$250m, with red accounting for US$30-US$40m.

Tomat-O-Red, derived from tomato lycopene, is also a powerful antioxidant with benefits to prostate and cardiovascular health.  LycoRed said that clinical studies show that tomato lycopene helps prevent DNA and cellular damage - factors in many degenerative diseases.

LycoRed specialises in natural carotenoids for food fortification and dietary supplements, microencapsulation and blending.