Artificial colourings used in foods, drinks and medicines offer no nutritional or safety benefits. They are used solely as cosmetic additives to boost the consumer appeal of products, for example, by adding brightness lost in processing or storage, mimicking the colour profile of healthier ingredients such as fruits and vegetables, or overcoming colour variations that occur in natural products. The use of artificial colourings in processed foods, drinks, medicines and vitamins is common as the only products they are excluded from by law are infant formulae. Artificial additives in food can mask poor quality ingredients and persuade consumers that highly processed foods are equivalent to home prepared versions.
Are artificial colours harmful to children?
Research in 2007 (https://www.food.gov.uk/safety-hygiene/food-additives) linked six artificial food colourings to hyperactivity in some children and in the UK many manufacturers have voluntarily removed these colourings from foods and drinks. Most of the major supermarkets' own-brand foods and drinks no longer contain these colourings, nor do the big confectionery brands.
The artificial colourings linked to behavioural problems in some children are: