Brilliant White


The secret ingredient to a great Easter

As winter leaves us and spring arrives, we all are looking forward to warmer weather and longer days. The countryside is filled with baby animals, people are planning their summers and coats are left behind in the mornings. The one holiday that really marks the season is just around the corner, Easter!

New beginnings

All over the world, Easter traditions feature eggs, themselves a symbol of new life and new beginning. Perhaps the most spectacular Easter eggs ever were those made for the family of the Russian Tsars by the jeweller Peter Carl Fabergé. Renowned for their craftsmanship and intricacy, they are as rare as they are beautiful. While we may not give such extravagant gifts, many of us exchange hand painted, or chocolate eggs with our loved ones. However, did you know that one substance is essential to making Easter bright?

Candy king

Titanium dioxide (TiO2) is used widely in confectionary because of its remarkable properties. TiO2 is used in many applications to give bright and even colours. For this reason too it is used in sweets like the ones you might give alongside Easter eggs, where it is labelled E171. More than that, it is also used in the dyes with which we paint and decorate eggs. Here, it means you don’t need a thick layer of paint to get a consistent and strong colour when decorating.

Safe for sweets

Titanium dioxide is one of the most widely used food additives, because of its amazing ability to brighten colours and enhance their texture and shine. As such, it has been subject to decades of studies to prove its safety, including most recently by the EU. All of this means that you can enjoy your Easter without worry!

With warmer days ahead, we hope you have a great Easter, and that you spare a thought for the amazing chemical that brings out the brightness in the holiday!

What is E171 and why is it in my food?

Remember the last time you were about to eat from a packet of sweets? You know, that time when you read the packet before tucking into your bag dried fruits instead? When you did, you probably have seen a number which read E171, and you probably won’t have known what it meant (clue: it’s not a stretch of road).

E171 is the European technical name for a food colourant and the “E” means it is allowed to be used as a food additive in Europe. E171 is a white additive made of titanium dioxide, designed to give food a certain colour. 

What foods contain E171?

E171 is used in a wide variety of foods as white food colouring. Overall it can be found in any transformed food that needs to be made whiter or a consistent color for example gum. Beyond the colour of the product, E171 can also help achieve a certain opacity or surface texture. Put simply, if you want your food to look uniformly good, you’re going to need E171. 

Why is it in my food?

Because consumers are picky! People want consistent products with very specific colours and that’s exactly what E171 enables. This means that the food will meet certain standards of quality and appearance to look just the way you want it to.

Titanium dioxide, which is actually only a refined and purified form of a naturally-occurring mineral substance, has been used safely in food for decades now. Today, it is the world’s main pigment for conveying food whiteness, opacity and brightness.