Abstract To the consumer, appearance is one of the most important attributes affecting choice of purchase. For food, colour is ranked alongside freshness as one of the main criteria governing selection. Naturally occurring carotenoid pigments, such as astaxanthin and canthaxanthin, may be applied in animal feed so that the resulting food products are appealing to the consumer. Whilst arguably, these pigments may be seen to be of cosmetic value, astaxanthin and canthaxanthin are both known to exert benefits on animal health and welfare. Evidence suggests that carry-over of these pigments into the human food chain could also be beneficial to human health too.