A journey of VIVAPIGMENTS®

Innovation doesn’t come overnight. With VIVAPIGMENTS®, it also never stops. Director Research and Innovation at CAPOL Inc., Dr. Plamen Nikolov, reflects on developing the natural color pigments from ideation phase to their latest technological advancements.

Why natural red cabbage juice got it all started

After years of extracting the red cabbage juice from the sprawling fields of the province of Quebec, Canada the nucleus of the technology that would become VIVAPIGMENTS® was born. At the center was the realization that although nature provided numerous options for liquid and soluble natural colors such as anthocyanins from red cabbage we could not offer a solution from our natural extracts that could replace the insoluble functionality of synthetic lake pigments.

Matching lake pigments’ capacities

The journey to matching the performance of lake pigments, a product resulting from transformation of soluble synthetic FD&C dyes to insoluble pigments through the immobilization on aluminum salts, had started.

The many years conception and tinkering led to the solution – binding of nature’s extracts to a protein and thus immobilize the chromophores without any chemistry. Rice protein was selected for its insolubility, taste neutrality and most importantly an amino acid profile closely resembling that of mother’s milk and the absence of allergenicity.

And there it was, instead of using aluminum salts, rice protein would be the key to encapsulating our plants extracts. With the subsequent increase in insolubility, and imparting color through dispersion, we could finally offer an alternative to the synthetic lake pigments.

Advancing the technology

Following the early conception days of VIVAPIGMENTS®, the innovation and development of the technology has only continued to accelerate to meet the ever-increasing expectations as the food industry transitions to natural colors.

  • We continue explore and encapsulate new natural color extracts and have increased our offer in yellows, reds, blues, and orange hues. 
  • Listening to our clients and working on performance improvements including shelf-life increase, reduction of color bleeding, and dispersion ease
  • Investigating and optimizing the stabilization effect of rice protein encapsulation to increase the protection of the sensitive chromophores that give us their vibrant color.
  • Even though we love working with colorful powders, they can present challenges for some facilities and thus we started to offer pre-dispersed, turn-key solutions
  • Overcoming the impact on crop variation due to seasonal and increasingly climate induced changes so that our customers don’t have to all the while delivering within our target color specifications.


Deeply intertwined within our innovation outlook is a core commitment to sustaining the clean label of the VIVAPIGMENTS® technology.

And thus, starting from the fields of Quebec and transitioning towards encapsulating with new extracts and now with a number of exciting innovation projects in our pipeline, the future of VIVAPIGMENTS® is only getting brighter.