Historically, the carotenoid field evolved from a specialized area of plant natural product chemistry. More recently, however, the importance of carotenoids as food colorants and as essential micronutrients has led to the influx of many new workers into the carotenoid field, and the diversification of carotenoid research into new areas, especially nutrition and medicine.
This greatly increased and broadened interest, and the ever-increasing participation in the International Symposia on Carotenoids prompted discussion about the foundation of an International Society dedicated to the carotenoid field. Ideas for this were discussed and a proposal was put before the 11th International Symposium on Carotenoids in Leiden, The Netherlands, in August, 1996. After due debate, the proposal was accepted and The International Carotenoid Society was established.