FDSN Seminar Series: ‘Colors 101: Deep Dive Into the World of Natural Color’


The Department of Food Science and Nutrition presents its spring 2024 seminar series featuring guest speaker Chari Rai, the head of research and development and regulatory affairs at Ottera, who will give a presentation on “Colors 101: Deep Dive into the World of Natural Color.” This seminar will take place on Thursday, April 25, from 12:45–1:45 p.m. in-person in the Robert S. Pritzker Science Building Auditorium, Room 111, and over Zoom.


Color is so much more than meets the eye. Color impacts our moods, stimulates our minds and influences how we feel about products and the companies that make them. Color influences how we experience the world around us and plays a crucial role in the overall sensory experience of eating and drinking.


Chari Rai currently works at Oterra—a natural colors company in Wisconsin as head of research and development and regulatory affairs. She has 20 years of food and beverage product development experience, having worked with companies including Sensient, PepsiCo, Heinz, Nestle, and Unilever. She loves the sensorial experience of developing a product and finds it gratifying to see a product come to life. Closest to heart has always been baking! Food and nutrition fascinated her at a young age, which led her to get her double bachelor’s degrees—one in nutrition and dietetics and another in food science and toxicology, followed by an M.S. in Food Science and Technology.