Caramel color or caramel coloring is a soluble food coloring. It is made by a carefully controlled heat treatment of carbohydrates, generally in the presence of acids, alkalis, or salts, in a process called caramelization. It is more fully oxidized than caramel candy and has an odor of burnt sugar and a somewhat bitter taste. Its color ranges from pale yellow to amber to dark brown.
Caramel color is one of the oldest and most widely-used food colorings, and is found in almost every kind of industrially produced food, including: batters, beer, brown bread, buns, chocolate, cookies, cough drops, dark liquor such as brandy rum, beer and whisky, chocolate-flavored flour-based confectionery, coatings, custards, decorations, fillings and toppings, potato chips, dessert mixes, doughnuts, fish and shellfish spreads, frozen desserts, Fruit preserves, glucose tablets, gravy browning, ice cream, pickles, sauces and dressings, soft drinks (especially colas), sweets, vinegar, and wines.