The Danish company Chr Hansen, through a partnership with the University of Copenhagen, created a process able to produce carmine dye by fermentation. Thanks to this discovery, the company is disrupting a millennial production method and stepping up to the plate, becoming a real game changer.
With its particular deep-red color, carmine is one of the most popular dyes in the industry. Already used by the Aztec and Inca empires back in the XIIIth century, carmine was first imported to Europe by conquistadors. Initially used as a textile dye, carmine is now widely present in the agribusiness.
Today chemical synthesis allows the conception of dyes similar to carmine pigment, but molecules produced by this chemical method are mainly used by the non-food industry (textile for example). The Food industry only focuses on natural carmine. This is why the process to create the pigment hasn’t changed since Aztec & Inca’s time. The production method relies on cultivating cochineal that can be found on cactus plants. To give you an idea,