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Colour Psychology and Food Labels: What You Should Know

Colour Psychology and Food Labels: What You Should Know
Colour psychology has a surprisingly important influence on how and what we buy. Learn more about colour and food marketing.

Across time and location, it is amazing to think that many ancient cultures did not have a word for blue. Evidence suggests that people did not see the colour, instead describing it with other tones and shades. But do you realise how important colour is to the way we percieve the world?

This is especially important when it comes to branding and design. Read on as we discuss how colour psychology should influence your food labelling. 

Colour Psychology

Most people have a favourite colour, with the majority of people choosing blue. This was based on a study performed in 1941 and took into account a range of demographics such as gender and geographical location.

There are a number of reasons why people think this may be the most popular choice. One of them is human evolution.

The night is dark blue, and people believe this has made us think of a time of calm and tranquillity. In contrast, yellow and oranges are associated with lively, exciting times, as they represent the day. 

Another theory about why we prefer colours is that they are imparted by our parents. This comes down to importing gender into children as soon as they are born. Girls are surrounded by pink, while boys are covered in blue. 

A more balanced idea is that of ecological valence theory. This is when people simply prefer colours that embody objects they like. For example, someone who likes green may enjoy nature, trees and plants. 

However, that does not necessarily mean all types of food packaging should be blue. In fact, labelling runs a lot deeper than targeting people's favourite colours. 

Colour Psychology Marketing

colour psychology

As well as preferences for colours, people share common feelings and emotions when they see other colours and tones. They can imply meaning and stir certain emotions. The main colours are listed below along with their meanings: 

  • Red - Energy, power, passion desire and love
  • Green - Nature, growth, health, freshness
  • Blue - Warm, compassionate, trustworthy, unique, flexible
  • Brown - Dependable, natural, mature, resilient
  • Orange - Energetic, happy, creative, joy
  • Yellow - Happy, joyful, warming, loyal
  • Pink - Love, tenderness, sweetness, vulnerability
  • Purple - Opulence, power, luxury, nobility, wisdom
  • White - Innocence, purity, goodness
  • Black - Mystery, power, formality

Purpose of Colour Psychology

There are a few reasons colour psychology can really help your product. The first is that it implies meaning without you having to write this in text. People can internalise concepts around your product, such as excitement, without your having to spell it out in the text. 

Colour can also help you stand out from competitors. This is particularly important for brand new products, which may be competing against established food products in the market. 

It can also help to create visibility for a product within its own range. For example, if you had a range of canned soups, you may want different colours to show the flavours within. Tomato soup may be red to represent the product, while cheese could be yellow and so on. 

Examples of Colour Psychology in Branding

colour psychology

You can get an idea of this by checking product logos, labels and branding from the items around you. Each of them will have undergone a long, laborious process to select the right image for their product or company. 

Blue, for example, will often be seen in the types of packaging boxes and products used in pharmaceuticals. This is because it is a colour most associated with trust and dependability. You will see it used in airline logos for the same reason.

Green is also a commonly used colour in pharmaceuticals, as it has connotations with natural products, health and wellbeing. Orange is associated with happiness, confidence and may also be used. 

Colour Psychology in Food

When it comes to food branding, eye-catching is the way to go. Think about the bright red background with yellow arches used in McDonald's. Red is a colour of excitement that makes people think of energy. 

Yellow is used a lot in the food industry. It is associated with optimism and happiness. Orange has a similar impact, making people feel cheerful about their decision to use the product. 

Blue and pink are also believed to appear sweet, especially when paired together. That is why it can be seen in the branding of so many desserts and confectionery products. 

Green is also a colour that is used a lot. As consumers have shifted more toward a healthy mindset, they want to know where their food has come from and what it contains. Green is ideal for organic, eco-friendly products with connotations of the natural world. 

What Colours Are Unappetizing?

There are no colours you really should avoid. It all depends on the image you want to portray for your different types of packaging and their contents. However, there are a few that will be less useful than others. 

The first of these is blue. As previously mentioned, in the lighter shade when paired with pink, it can imply sweetness. However, in other ways, it is not that desirable. 

Blue is associated with trust and dependability. While this may work for your brand, it is not something people look for in a food product. In addition, blue seldom occurs as a natural colour in many foods themselves. 

This would only be untrue when it comes to drink. Here, the association with water and purity can work to the advantage of your products. 

Choosing Packaging Colors With Colour Psychology

Now that you know the basics of colour psychology, you should speak with a professional designer. Lots of other variables can influence the perception of your product, from fonts to layouts.

LabelProfi can provide all your labelling solutions. From design to print, we can guide you through the whole process. Contact us to make an enquiry, and let us get the perfect packaging for you!



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