The feelings of comfort and familiarity you get when picking food and beverages all boil down to critical choices made during the food packaging design process and, most notably, the chosen product color. But what do these colors mean, and why are they so persuasive? Keep reading to understand:
- The concept of product color psychology in marketing
- How brands utilize product color psychology to their advantage
- The most common colors in food packaging and their purpose
- How market research has driven the use of particular colors
To understand how food package coloring influences consumers, you should first familiarize yourself with the psychology of product color.
Product color psychology is the study of the impact of colors on perception and behavior. In marketing and branding, this study is used to anticipate how consumers will respond to a brand and whether their purchasing decisions will be affected by color choice.
Brands have used color psychology as a marketing tactic for decades, and for good reason. Research indicates that up to 90% of snap judgments about a product can be attributed to color alone. Additionally, because the connection between color schemes and brand logos is so ingrained in us, one of the biggest measures of trustworthiness is how appropriately the colors “fit” with what’s being sold.
In the food and beverage industry, many companies have harnessed the power of color packaging to increase brand awareness and reach their target audience. And because so many businesses have used color to create lasting brand personalities, up-and-coming brands should be mindful of how their products could be perceived.
Color psychology is only a small part of the food packaging design process. Read our blog to understand every detail that goes into an effective design.
Some of the most common and preferred colors in food packaging are:
Red is a universally accepted color that’s known to represent power, boldness, and excitement. It’s typically the color people notice first, and as a primary color, it’s often a safe choice. Additionally, a lot of its charm comes from its tendency to increase the heart rate and enhance appetite.
Red also stimulates thoughts of sweet or ripe foods like tomatoes, candy, and strawberries. This even causes many companies to add extra red coloring to drinks to improve and promote the consumers’ impression of sweetness.
Yellow is a bright color that also quickly grabs consumers’ attention and stimulates their appetite. In food and beverage packaging, yellow is commonly associated with high energy, cheerfulness, and optimism, so it’s often used for serotonin-inducing products like pineapple and poultry.
Marketing experts understand the similarities between red and yellow, so these colors commonly appear together in the fast food industry via restaurants like McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Burger King, Hardee’s, and Dairy Queen.
Since orange is an optimistic color that’s a “toned down” version of red and yellow, it’s often used to express clarity and warmth. However, it still does well in stimulating the senses, promoting creativity, and encouraging spontaneous purchases. Marketers have found that orange is also associated with affordability and is an excellent choice for promoting good value.
Orange has a bit of a dual role in food and beverage packaging—many companies use orange packaging to give the impression of healthy and fulfilling foods. However, orange has also come to be associated with lots of “unnatural” snack flavors like Cheetos, corn chips, and even beverages like orange soda.
While blue isn’t used as commonly as some brighter colors, it’s a universal symbol of trust, honesty, calmness, and simplicity. Blue is known to suppress the appetite and reduce hunger, so it’s often used for packaging more neutral staples like bottled water, milk, crackers, and other dairy products.
While blue is often seen as the “opposite” of red and its appetite-inducing qualities, blue packaging is also commonly associated with delicious seafood—mainly because of its fresh appeal and association with water.
To no one’s surprise, the color green indicates health and wellness. If any brand wants to make a statement about its product’s health benefits or natural ingredients, green packaging is the way to go. Many consumers would be hard-pressed to find any organic or plant-based product without this color prominently displayed on the body of the package or its logo.
Additionally, any brand that needs to deliver a message about an environmentally-sourced or sustainable product will likely favor this color.
While the public will always associate certain colors with a particular statement, marketing teams are continuing to research ways to reinvent the color wheel. After all, newer food and beverage brands have to find ways to compete with similar products while creating their own identity, and sometimes this requires establishing new trends.
In the age of social media, especially, brands are finding ways to accommodate the rise of influencers changing the public perception of food. Marketers should observe moments like when Pantone declared the blue-shaded Very Peri 2022’s Color of the Year. This allowed companies to focus more on naturally-shaded blue, purple, and violet foods and their health benefits, which traditionally was a much different shift in focus from the all-green organic machine.
If you know your food and beverage products are worlds beyond the competition but struggle to find an eye-catching design, let DePersico Creative help. Our family-owned, fun-loving design studio specializes in food and beverage packaging, branding, and product positioning.
We understand package design and color theory more than anyone, and we’re united in our goal through our love of all things food and our dedication to providing excellent customer service. We’ll help you find a brand identity that sets you and your products apart from the competition.
DePersico Creative is ready to help elevate your packaging. Check out our portfolio and see the impact we’ve made.