Background: Wheat is a vital, staple, preferred, favored, and choicest energy source in many parts of the world due to the unique processing quality attributed to gluten that helps cooking it to bread, biscuit, pasta, noodles, etc. Colored wheat adds nutritional and functional health benefits to the energy-rich wheat. Colored wheat accumulates anthocyanins in the aleurone or pericarp layer of seed coat that give it the blue, purple, or black color.
Scope and approach: This review is a compilation of currently available information on the color wheat in the key aspects including biochemistry, food processing, nutrition, genetics, breeding, and effect on human health.
Key findings and conclusions: The rising number of colored wheat publications from 16 countries parallels the increasing demand for functional foods and nutraceuticals. Biochemists have identified and characterized different bioactive compounds, understood their functionality, studied underlying pathways and regulatory elements, and isolated anthocyanins for use as natural colorants. Breeding has increased its productivity while retaining the highest possible anthocyanin content. Nutritionists have characterized its health-promoting activities that are attributed to anthocyanins such as protection against metabolic syndrome, obesity, diabetes, hypertension, dyslipidemia, aging, cancer, and neurodegeneration. While the food processing efforts include the development of different colored wheat products and understand the effect of cooking on food functionality. Biologists emphasize on understanding the mechanism of anthocyanin development and transport in vacuoles and how it affects human health. But the generation of market and consumer awareness creation are key challenges ahead for its large-scale commercialization.