To counter Asian youths’ growing preference for Western food such as bread, Taiwanese researchers have come up with a national staple with more eye appeal – coloured rice.

The Hualien Agricultural Improvement Station in eastern Taiwan has succeeded in creating dyed rice in pink, green, yellow and purple – all made from natural ingredients, which it claims adds to a healthier diet.

The green rice, for example, owes its colour to extract of bitter melon, which also contains vitamins A and C. The plant is also contains a substance which is useful in the control of diabetes. The team now plans to increase the number of colours available to 14.