Summary. The colour of commercial caramels has been studied by measuring the extinction of monochromatic light (λ 0.4 to 0.7 μ) by solutions in water over a concentration range of 0.02-2.5 g/100 ml. the Lambert-Beer ‘law’is proved to apply within the accuracy of measurement, and a straight line relationship between log E and λ is established. Similar observations are made for beverages containing caramel.

Based on these measurements, the colour characteristics of the materials are derived in terms of the Comité Internationale de l'Eclairage (C.I.E.) system, providing explanations for the differences and similarities between caramels, the difficulty of visual matching, and the changes in colour which occur on dilution.

A proposal is made for the assessment of the colouring power of caramel by measurement of extinction at wavelengths of 0.5 and 0.6 μ.