We could agree that in this information era, digital marketing had impacted on how food entities and brands communicate with their audiences. While appointing professional digital marketers to ensure effectiveness and efficiency had become the norm practice of a smart food industrialist, colors had surged as a major factor to consider for brand consistencies and imagery; while proven & recognized to possessed powerful impacts on consumers’ behavior and decisions.
Statement above can be well proved in a research by WebpageFX, consumers habitually making a subconscious judgement about a brand or products in less than 90 seconds of viewing it with almost 85% of the sample group said that color is the determining factor when purchasing a brand or product. Although we have free access to any color we can possibly think of; thanks to the current technology and digital revolution; but do food brands and entrepreneurs really know what essence of the chosen colors is while utilizing it efficiently to promote their brands, products, and services?
Color influences consumers not only on the conscious level but also on the subconscious level. Especially on food entities, color and food pairings can be powerful especially when leveraging the emotional connection to taste. Elements of brand identity such as unique graphics and color palette can eventually become iconic if consistently maintained.
For example, you see red with a white swirl and you instantly think Coca Cola or you can immediately associate green with Milo, the famous cocoa drink in Malaysia if you’re Malaysian. The color is one of the main elements that will set your product and services apart from other entities or products and distinguish it from competitor brands.
But where should you as a food industrialist start?
When it comes to picking the “right” color either for your brand or products, there are hips of researchers had indicated that consumers’ reaction to color appropriateness in relation to the product is far more important than the individual color itself. Is the essence behind the meaning of the chosen color combinations which helps to support the personality of the entity or brand represents. In other words, it’s the feeling, mood, and image that your brand creates that play a role in persuasion. Be sure to recognize that colors only come into play when they can be used to match a brand’s desired personality.
With that sorted out, let’s explore some hidden psychological impacts associated with various colors which you may choose to represent your identity online or offline.
Red – A powerful color is known to stimulate and excite as well as promoting a sense of urgency. Naturally, it also possesses the power to stimulates consumers physically, raising blood pressure and heart rate, while emotionally associated with movement, excitement, and passion. It also enhances appetite, and subconsciously consumers tend to associate this color with ripe and sweet things when used on food products, thus is frequently used by fast-food chains such as McDonald’s and KFC.
Blue – The most unappetizing color when associating to food. Blue is almost non-existent in natural foods and the thought of it might even turn consumers away. However, Blue is often associated with peace, water, tranquility, and reliability. Blue also represents a sense of security, curbs appetite, and stimulates productivity hence the most common color used by brands looking to promote trust in their products. Hence a very popular choice of color among brands and products associating with water and freshness, such as bottled water or seafood; and weight-loss programs such as Weight Watchers.
Green – In food marketing, green is the main color associated with being fresh, healthy, natural, organic or vegetarian, and is now widely used as a symbol of health and well-being. In general, is a good choice if your brand or products are emphasizing on natural ingredients, associating it with health benefits or ecological & environmentally friendly produce or brand. Subconsciously, this color also has the power to relax customers, stimulates harmony and encourage a balance leading to decisiveness. Starbucks, a prime example of a brand using this psychological effect.
Yellow – A color which is very good at grabbing attention and is the fastest color that the brain processes. Yellow is also an appetite stimulant and has the power to make people feel cheerful and optimistic. Studies also show that when consumers engaging with yellow, their brain releases Serotonin which is the ‘feel good chemical’, and widely used by marketers to make consumers feel good about what they are buying. Combining it with red together, it will induce taste buds and stimulates appetite. Now you understand why this is a popular choice in the fast food industry – McDonald’s & Burger King.
Orange – Produces similar effects and naturally lends itself to food as an appetizing color as a blend of red and yellow, stimulating senses and emotions which can encourage impulsive purchase and therefore a good choice for convenience snacks and food to go or ready meals. Orange is a youthful color often relate with creativity, however, in food and beverage, it is often linked with certain flavors e.g. orange (Fanta) or cheese (Cheetos).
Black – Often a symbol of intelligence and associated with authority, power, stability, and strength, but can become overwhelming if used too frequently. In the past, the color black was very rarely used for food or beverage. However, food experts are beginning to see some positive associations with black such as using black to portray a sense of luxury as brands are recognizing consumers have a habit of associating black with sophistication and elegance. We are seeing more brands using it as the main color on food packaging as it enhances value perception and high quality. Examples of brands who do this well are Monster Energy and Jack Daniels.
White – Associated with feelings of purity, cleanliness, simplicity, and safety. Can be used to project neutrality while helps on glinting creativity since it often perceived as an unaltered and clean state. Generally, white is most effective when used as a base color, which works well when complemented with other accent colors. It is also popular with consumers on white colored food products such as milk, soft cheeses, yogurt, cream, cultured drink as it’s appropriate and providing impression of being natural and fresh.