Boycotting Artificial Food Colouring: How to Pretty-Up Your Culinary Creations Naturally!

Artificial food colors are a recipe for disaster being linked to a range of conditions from ADHD to cancer with many more in between. 

Other ‘natural colours’ such as cochineal (aka 120 or E120) that make a vibrant red colour are not even vegan, being derived from insects (and combined with aluminium)! Who wants to eat that? Or worse yet, give it to their children?

Vegan and artificial colour free icy poles
Natalie’s daughters swapping the artificial icy-poles with vegan, naturally coloured ones. Image: TVW

I realised that my daughter did not agree with artificial food colouring after we went through a few nights where she had experienced night terrors. I soon realised that the artificially coloured icy poles she had been eating over that very hot week could have been the cause. I googled correlations between food colouring and night terrors and realised that it was a definite possibility. I immediately banned artificial food colouring from her diet and it never happened again… until a year later when I had just about forgot about the whole ordeal and ignorantly made her a bright blue Cookie Monster cake for her 2nd birthday. That night we were sure enough dealing with a night terror.

Let’s be honest though; what is not to love about pink cupcakes? They are pretty, sweet and fairies eat them of course! Leilani LOVES her pink fairy cupcakes, making them a daily request when I ask her what she would like me to cook for dinner – And no, she doesn’t get them on a daily basis but it is worth a shot in her eyes!

Colour your culinary creations naturally and cruelty-free

Lucky for Little Miss Leilani, her Mummy can give her pink cupcake treat every now and then that will not result in a restless night, and it is even prettier and tastier then the chemically synthesised ones. The answer? Berries!

Blueberry Icing
Light Purple Iced Chocolate Cupcakes coloured with the juice of thawed blueberries. Image: TVW.

The juice from a few thawed frozen berries, particularly antioxidant-rich raspberries, when added to icing mixture makes a beautiful pink colour, and gives off a delicate berry flavour. You really can’t get better than that and it is completely safe, easy and most importantly delicious!

Purple is also easy to achieve by using frozen blueberries or blackberries and frozen cherries give a nice purply-pink shade. Watermelon juice is also great for a delicate pink, Cantaloupe puree is good for a light yellowey orange colour, as is fresh mango or peach pulp. You just adjust the amount of juice or pulp in the icing mixture to achieve the desired depth of colour. It can be as vibrant or as subtle as you like.

Artificial coloring
The natural, vegan, homemade colouring can taste and look so amazing, that I now just cannot see any reason to ever use the lab made ones again. Image: Shutterstock.

And it isn’t just icing that you can jazz-up with a bit of natural colour. You can experiment with vegan natural colouring through fruits and vegetables in your smoothies, ice cream, icy-poles and other culinary creations as well! Add spinach to your children’s smoothie to create a “green monster” power drink, or some beetroot juice to your vegan ice cream to create a beautiful redish swirl.


There are just so many wonderful natural options out there as an alternative to using harmful chemically derived colourings, or “natural” but cruel and non-vegan ones. The natural, vegan, homemade colouring can taste and look so amazing, that I now just cannot see any reason to ever use the lab made ones again.


Happy colour experimentation everyone! 

Cover image: Shutterstock.

Natalie Cunningham

Writter & Reviewer

Vegan Super Mum Columnist

My name is Natalie Cunningham and I am from Melbourne, Australia. I am a mum of two beautiful girls, Leilani and Malia and my husband is Robert. We are a vegan family – I have been vegan for over 10 years now, Robert for 3 years and our children have been vegan since birth. I am the vice president and one of the founders of Vegan Parents Australia – an organisation dedicated to bringing vegan families together for moral support and friendships and to mainstream veganism by dispelling the myths that it is dangerous for children to be vegan, and that it is in fact easy and healthy!

More about Natalie

Check out Natalie’s co-founded organization – Vegan Parents Australia

Check out Natalie's Vegan Family blog - The Veggiebacons