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Feds back Que. vegetable pigment maker

A Montreal-area company making natural colours from red cabbage and beets for food and cosmetic markets has picked up federal support for new equipment and an expansion to house it.

Colarome Inc., based in St-Hubert, will get a “repayable contribution” worth over $781,000 from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s Agri-Opportunities Program, the government announced Thursday.

The program provides funding for projects that can be expected to increase market opportunities for the Canadian ag industry across the value chain and generate demand for primary agricultural products.

In Colarome’s case, that involves expansion to include new equipment that the company says it needs to increase production of “natural pigment” products derived from vegetable sources — and to introduce these products to new markets.

The pigments will be used in nutraceutical, cosmetic and confectionary goods, the government said. The company says its red cabbage colorant, for example, can be used in “reconstituted” juices, spirits and other beverages, processed fruits and jams.

The project is expected to generate “significant” demand for red cabbage and beets, the government said, as the company estimates purchasing almost $400,000 worth of feedstock by 2011. Colarome also pledges to create a total of 11 new jobs.

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