Why Use Colors?

Science tells us that "taste" is a multi-sensory perception constructed from taste buds, visual appearance, aroma, and mouthfeel.

“Flavour is not just as simple as the way it tastes as all the other senses come into play, and some can dominate the brain’s interpretation of food. For example, we have found there is a clear difference in the intensity of flavour people experience when we play with the colour of a drink with a tasteless and odorless dye. It is the same drink but people think it tastes better."

Taste perception is influenced by color.

A 2007 study by Hoegg & Alba evaluated consumer preference for orange juice by varying color intensity and/or sweetness level. They concluded that taste perception was influenced only by color change and not by changes in actual sweetness level. Source: Hoegg and Alba, Journal of Consumer Research March 2007

5 Reasons to Use Color

  1. Color in foods has a long and fascinating history worldwide.
  2. Color impacts how we perceive food.
  3. Color can be added to food and beverages to restore the inherent color lost during processing, to return it back to the original shade or to associate the food with a specific flavor.
  4. Colors are safe to use.
  5. Colors can be sustainably produced.

The Role of Color in People’s Everyday Lives

Color is used in our lives to beautify our environments. Consumers express themselves and their personality using color. This comes through in how they decorate their homes, the color of the car they drive, the paint color chosen for each room in their home, the color of their clothing, the cosmetics they use or their hair color — all sorts of things!

Everyone has a favorite color, whether it is one you gravitate to when choosing clothing, or one that just imparts a certain feeling or memory. For example, when you consider the color blue, people often associate the color with tranquility, water, sky, openness or a sense of freedom. 

People typically use colors to help interpret a product’s freshness. For example, the color of a banana (green, yellow, or brown) shapes the consumer’s perception on what freshness or sweetness level they will receive from that particular fruit.

Color in food impacts consumers taste expectations. For example, an apple-flavored product that is green versus red may impact the sour or sweetness level a consumer would perceive.

Color is a key component of a brand or product “personality.” For example, some food products come in variety packs with multiple colors. Often consumers have a preferred bias for certain colors even if they all taste the same!

When asked, most people are quick to tell you their favorite color. Their preference is typically linked to how the color makes them feel or how the color is linked to a past memory. At the end of the day, colors do, in fact, “color” our lives—by impacting what we’re drawn to, by helping us express our individuality, by adding to our sensory experiences, and even by improving our moods.