Amongst the comments and questions on Facebook I noticed a few questions regarding new brands of colours on the market. Since there have been so many developments in products since I started making cakes (I am going back as far as when you could get yellow, blue, green and red liquid from the supermarket) I thought I would compare a few brands to see which I liked best and hopefully give you some helpful information regarding colours.
I have based my comparison on the following criteria:
Range of colours – Does the brand have a good range of colours including more unusual ones?
Packaging and ease of use – how easy are they to use and does the packaging stay clean or become messy with use?
Ease of mixing – How well & quickly does the brand mix into sugarpaste?
I have chosen 4 brands to test. They are:
Rainbow Dust Progel
I am using the same colour range for each brand (green) in order to get a fair comparison. Please note when reading this comparison test that whilst I have had extensive experience of using food colour, this is only my opinion on the above brands.
I hope this will be of interest however your view of these brands may differ from mine and I would encourage you to try out different brands.
This is a relatively new edition to the food colour market.
Range of colours: This brand offers 37 colours in the Progel paste colour collection. I also like the fact that included in these are terracotta, olive green and strawberry. Now it could be argued that with a mixture of colours in the other brand ranges, these colours could be achieved. The point is that Rainbow Dust have already done it with these. Score – 9/10
Packaging and ease of use: These colours come in a tube much like a hand cream tube. When it comes to adding colour it can be squeezed from the tube without the need to dip a palette knife or cocktail stick into it. The nozzle is narrow and once the lid is screwed on the colour does not splodge out to stain fingers. Score – 9/10
Ease of mixing: This is a concentrated colour so it mixes well and it is quite easy to achieve darker & more vibrant shades without endless kneading. Score – 9/10
Total score – 27/30
Sugarflair is one of the original food colours available to sugarcrafters.
Range of colours: This brand has 30 edible food colours available. There are some interesting ones including grape violet and lemon/lime. However as far as I can remember the range has stayed pretty much the same for some time with the addition of a few new colours. Score 7/10
Packaging and ease of use: These colours come in small pots with screw lids. The main problem with this packaging is that over time the lids become stained with colour which gets pushed out onto the pot each time the lid is removed/replaced. This can result in a very messy pot which gets onto hands if you are not wearing gloves. Score – 6/10
Ease of mixing: Generally these colours are easy to knead into sugarpaste and achieve a consistent colour without streaking. There are, however a couple of niggling issues I have with some of the colours. When trying to achieve a darker or more vibrant colour I find that a lot of paste colour is required (more so than some other brands). When using paprika/flesh I find that tiny pigments of this colour do not mix in fully and can appear once the sugarpaste had been rolled and applied as decoration. Score – 8/10
Total score – 21/30
Range of colours: There are 25 colours in this range including a few which caught my eye – juniper green, teal and creamy peach which sounds so divine I just want to buy it for that reason alone. Score – 8/10
Packaging and ease of use: These colours are packaged the same way as the Sugarflair ones so they have some of the same problems. However the lid is larger in diameter than the pot and the thread which it screws onto is the part which gets messy is tucked away so less colour gets onto hands. Score – 7/10
Ease of mixing: I really like these colours. The paste itself is described by Wilton as a gel and it is concentrated colour so you don’t need spoonfuls of it to achieve the desired finish and it mixes in well. Score – 9/10
Total score – 24/30
Range of colours: With 20 colours available this is a smaller range than most. They have a pretty good range but nothing that stands out. Score – 6/10
Packaging and ease of use: These colours are sold in small plastic bottles with a screw cap. Problems with very messy containers and leaky lids are an issue for me with this range also. However the colour can be squeezed out instead of needing a cocktail stick or small palette knife. Score – 5/10
Ease of mixing: These colours are concentrated so they mix quickly and well without needing lots. Score – 9/10
Total Score – 20/30
Overall my favourite colouring after carrying out this comparison test was the Rainbow Dust Progel range of colours. During my time as a cake decorator I have mainly used Sugarflair and for the most part been happy with it. However I feel that with new products coming onto the market and improvements taking place, there are now more user friendly colours out there with new & interesting colours being added to product ranges.
I will continue to use Sugarflair as I really like some of their colours. However it is good to be aware of new products and developments in the ever changing world of sugarcraft.