Colour Psychology in The Food Industry

Open your eyes. Look around. ? There’s colours everywhere. Ever stopped to wonder how each of these colours affect you? If not, you’ll be surprised how your brain adapts to the different colours around you. ?

Colour holds prime importance in the food industry for the simple reason that we eat with our eyes first. ?

The more intensely colored the food, the more intense the perceived taste. Thus, the consumer might then have a more intense experience, or be disappointed by the lack of actual intensity if their experience does not match the perception. In the food sales department, it is important to realize that a product only has 2-3 seconds on a retail shelf in front of a consumer. ⏳ With this knowledge in mind, food companies place a great deal of time and money in perfecting the color of their products.

Let’s see how each of these colors affect our brain ? and appetite ?:

1. RED ?

In relation to food it enhances the appetite, when we see red we get an energy boost. When you think food and the color red you may associate it with tender meat ?, a juicy strawberry ? or a mouth-watering fiery chicken tikka ?. Don’t know about you but I am already hungry! ?

2. BLUE ?

Blue is generally used for corporate and conservative brands and represents security and trust. Blue is easily my favorite color and I am sure a lot of you here would share my love for this color, but it’s not necessarily the best choice for a restaurant. ? Blue is known to suppress appetite and reduces hunger. Research has found that when foods were dyed blue, people found them much less appealing even if the food tasted good. It’s even been suggested that you put a blue light in your fridge to discourage yourself from reaching in for more food. ?

Disgusting right? Those are just scrambled eggs dyed blue, lazily spread over a slice of bread. ?

3. WHITE ?

White connotes clean and pure, but it can also look stark, plain and sterile—so this is another color that needs to be exercised with care. That is why often we see a white colored food being paired with a stark bright color. ? For example, a white panna cotta might not look so appealing on the plate but when paired with a fresh raspberry coulis it can work wonders for the eyes. ?

4. GREEN ?

Green is commonly used in food because it is associated with being healthy, vegetarian, fresh. Green encourages relaxation because of its correlation to nature. ? Starbucks, one of the largest coffee chains in the world has established its logo using primarily green. The Starbucks brand is subconsciously hinting to sit down and relax. Subway and Green Giant are two other great examples — they want to be seen as fresh and healthy. ?

If you had to choose one plate amongst the two you would probably go for the yellow one. The same green beans look a little more appetizing when served on the yellow plate. ?

5. BLACK ?

Having a classic appeal, black is commonly used to portray power, authority, strength, and sophistication — although it can be somewhat of a cold color. A lot of the restaurants listed in the Worlds 50 Best have a black logo. Reason?  ? Simplicity and sophistication. When speaking of black food, on the other hand, may not necessarily come up as the most appetizing color. However black bun burgers, charcoal ice cream, black pancakes, are currently trending! ⬆

6. BROWN ? 

The first thing that comes to my mind regarding the color brown is chocolate and coffee! Brown is most commonly used in café’s; Starbucks’s first logo was also brown in color. ☕ Brown has earthy tones, it represents stability, and captures the feeling of being grounded, comfortable and even inexpensive. It is often used in the packaging of organic products. ?

Similarly, each color simulates a unique reaction in our brain. Can you imagine a blue arch in the McDonald’s logo? ? Well, it certainly doesn’t have quite the same ring to it.  Yellow is often associated with happiness, hence the yellow arch! ?

It is also important to keep in mind the state of the color. The saturation, contrast, hue of the same color, when variated can have an entirely different effect. For example, bright and bold primary shades are often used in fast food chains to encourage high turnover. ??

Colour psychology is a vast field and can be applied to almost every industry! It is a great tool that can be utilized to improve marketing and branding strategies. What do you think? Is there any colour we have missed out on? ?

Written and Researched by Alefiya Mustafa

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