The president of Starbucks announced yesterday that the company will no longer use the insect-based colorant called cochineal extract, also known as carmine dye, in its "Strawberries and Creme Frappuccino."
The company had moved to the bug-based red coloring agent in order to use more natural ingredients. However, pressure from vegans forced them to reconsider.
The carmine dye is made from the Cochineal insect, which lives as a parasite on cactus plants. It is a harmless natural ingredient, and is already used in many cosmetics and foods, such as lipstick, barbecue sauce, and pie fillings.
Despite its poor lightfastness, it has been used as a clothing dye and an artist's pigment. Scientists have done tests to find that the red in this portrait by Sir Joshua Reynolds was made from Cochineal-based carmine lake.
Wikipedia on Cochineal
Color tests on S.J. Reynolds
More pigment stories in my book Color and Light