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Does Trader Joe’s Sell Food Coloring? (Answered)

Does Trader Joe's Sell Food Coloring

Food coloring gives bright and bold colors to cakes, frosted cookies, or other creative projects. A food gel dye can make the perfect color without thinning frosting or a mix. Food coloring is also one of the most popular ways to dye Easter eggs in fun springtime shades. Since many stores carry food coloring kits, it’s important to know if a store carries what you need before you go.  

Trader Joe’s does not sell food coloring due to the company’s brand promise not to carry any products with artificial and chemical colors. The good news is that you can still make food coloring dyes using simple, natural products straight off of Trader Joe’s shelves. 

Here’s what you need to know about Trader Joe’s food coloring, alternative options, and what other stores sell food coloring kits. 

What is Trader Joe’s?

Trader Joe’s is a privately-owned company, started in 1967 in Pasadena, California. Since the first store opened in the 1960s until today, Trader Joe’s has stayed a leader in selling and promoting a wide range of natural food options.

Does Trader Joe’s Sell Food Coloring?

Unlike many other grocery stores, Trader Joe’s has chosen not to sell any food coloring in keeping with the company’s refusal to use any kind of artificial coloring in Trader Joe’s products. That’s why you will only see food coloring derived from natural foods like beets, paprika, turmeric, and some minerals.

What is Food Coloring?

Food coloring refers to a dye, substance, pigment, or color additive that adds color when mixed into a food or beverage.

There are many kinds of food coloring that range from liquids and gels to pastes and powders. Food coloring is often used in processed foods and home baking.

While the first synthetic food dye appeared in 1856, the practice of adding artificial color to foods increased during the 1970s. Most artificial food dyes today come from crude oil or petroleum.  

What Different Types of Food Coloring Exist?

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There are four main types of food coloring:  

  1. Traditional liquid food coloring dye usually comes in small plastic squeeze bottles.
  2. Gel liquid or paste dye, made from water, glycerin, and corn syrup. Also called “icing color”.
  3. Powdered food coloring.
  4. Natural food coloring from plants, fruits, vegetables, and spices.

To check the current price and availability of Watkins Assorted Food Coloring, click here to view the listing on Amazon.

What Food Coloring Products Does Trader Joe’s Carry?

Since Trader Joe’s doesn’t carry traditional artificial food coloring dyes, you won’t find liquid, gel, or powdered food coloring in their stores.

You can find natural products such as cocoa powder, beets, blueberries, strawberries, saffron, or activated charcoal to create a beautiful natural food coloring palette.

Trader Joe’s Food Coloring vs. Other Stores

Compared to other grocery stores or big-box stores, Trader Joe’s food coloring options are simple and natural. You can locate traditional artificial food coloring kits at your local grocery store or at places like Target and Walmart.

Food Coloring Prices and Products at Other Stores

Many stores such as Dollar Tree, Target, and Walmart carry a variety of food coloring types, shades, and kits. Check out these options and more at your local stores.

Dollar Tree

Product #1: Supreme Tradition Food Coloring

Count: 4-pack kit

Price: $1.25


Product #1: Betty Crocker Decorating Gel Food Color in Classic Colors

Count: 2.07 fl. ounce

Price: $3.88

Product #2: Great Value Assorted Food Color ; Egg Dye

Count: 2 pack

Price: $3.47

Product #3: McCormick Red, Blue, or Green Food Color

Count: 1 fl. oz.  

Price: $3.38

Product #4: Wilton Gel Food Coloring

Count: 1 oz. 1 piece 

Price: $2.08

Product #5: Wilton Edible Gel Food Coloring Set for Baking and Decorating

Count: 6 oz. 12-piece set



Product #1: Favorite Day Neon or Classic Gel Food Coloring (no artificial dyes and free from major allergens)

Count: 2.07 oz. and 4 pack

Price: $4.59

Product #2: Market Pantry Assorted Food Coloring Bottle 

Count: 1.2 oz. 4 pack 

Price: $3.89

Product #3: McCormick Assorted Food Colors and Food Coloring Kits

Count: 3 pack

Price: From $4.59

Product #4: Watkins Assorted Food Pack (no artificial dyes)

Count: 4 pack

 Price: $9.49

Alternative Options for Food Coloring

The good news is that there are a lot of great alternative options to artificial food coloring available.   

For example, you can use fruits like strawberries or blueberries to make pink or blue colors. Cooked beets will give a deeper red shade and turmeric can create a rich golden-yellow hue. You can even dye Easter eggs using fruits and vegetables boiled with white vinegar using the simple steps available on Trader Joe’s website.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does Trader Joe’s Use Dye?

According to Trader Joe’s website, the company is committed to avoiding any dyes added to food or beverage products.

Trader Joe’s states that it never uses colors such as FD;C Red No. 40, FD;C Blue No. 2, or FD;C Yellow No. 5 that tar-derived chemicals.  

Instead, Trader Joe’s brand promise means that the company only uses colors derived from plants or minerals. These include beets, turmeric, annatto, paprika, beta carotene, titanium dioxide, or ferrous gluconate.  

What Can I Use for Natural Food Coloring?

You can find natural food coloring sources everywhere, even in your own pantry or fridge. If you don’t have food coloring available or want to color food or other items without harmful dyes, you can use a variety of fruits, vegetables, spices, and other ingredients to get the colors that you need.

You can use strawberries or raspberries to achieve a pink hue. Beets and tomatoes will provide a richer red shade, while you can create orange from a mixture of carrots, sweet potato, and paprika.

Saffron or turmeric will make a sunny yellow, while matcha or spinach creates perfect shades of green.

If you want to achieve more difficult colors like blue or purple, add baking soda to shredded red cabbage for blue and use blueberries or purple sweet potato to get a purple shade.

Brown and black tones come easily if you use coffee, cocoa, or tea for brown and squid ink or activated charcoal to get deep black shades.

Final Thoughts

According to our research, Trader Joe’s does not sell any product that falls into the traditional food coloring category. That’s because Trader Joe’s is committed to keeping artificial dyes out of its products and off the shelves.

Look for pre-made dyes from naturally derived products, or use fruits, vegetables, or spices to dye everything from frosting to Easter eggs.

 Many stores continue to add natural options, so keep your eyes open for updates on food coloring in stock at your favorite stores.


Shane is a fitness enthusiast who also has a passion for trying and cooking new foods. His favorite stores to shop at include Trader Joe's, Wholefoods Market, Sprouts, Stater Brothers, and Target.

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