We all know that we eat with our eyes. We like our apples to be deep red, our broccoli to be a vibrant green and our bananas to have a golden yellow peel. A study on the impact of color in marketing determined that up to 90% of shoppers decide to buy or not buy an item solely on color. And they make that decision in less than 90 seconds. This is not lost on food manufacturers who pay huge sums of money to marketing specialists to ensure that the package draws you in. They use color to give your brain secret messages and influence your decisions.

Appetizing Red

Rumor has it that red triggers the appetite, which is why many restaurants use red on their menu, as part of their linens or as a wall color. When we see red, we think of fresh, ripe foods like tomatoes or strawberries. In addition, it is eye-catching (we actually look to red first) and seems to stimulate emotions and bring back good memories. Red is the color of choice in food marketing; you will find it someplace on just about every food package.

Healthy Green

Green is the color of grass and until recently, not a widely used color for labels. But times, they are a changing. Thanks to sustainability, eco-friendliness and the ever-popular kale, green is now seen as a symbol of health and well-being. Food marketers now use green when they want to emphasize or make a claim about natural ingredients.

Valued Orange

Orange is the color of satisfaction. But not overall satisfaction, it is often times used to symbolize value and affordability. Food marketers hope that a label that has orange in will satisfy your desire or need for an affordable item.

Happy Yellow

Yellow is considered the “happy” color indicating cheerfulness and optimism. Believe it or not, when you see yellow, your brain releases the happy hormone, serotonin. Food marketers use yellow on labels to make you feel good about what you are buying. Think Cheerios!

Black Tie Black

Black was the one color that food marketers always stayed away from in the past, but no more. It is now used to symbolize elegance and high-end quality. Premium ice creams, chocolate bars and even some pricey chips use black in their packaging to help convince you that $7.00 for a pint of ice cream is worth every penny.

Suppressing Blue

Can you think of natural food that is blue (besides blueberries)? Where as red makes you want to eat, blue suppresses your appetite. But people like the color blue and think it connotes dependability and trustworthiness. Think about a package that uses blue like Oreos. You can trust that you are going to get the same amount of white filling in every cookie so you buy them over and over again.

Simply White

White is associated with purity and simplicity. It is often used to reinforce the idea that a product has very few ingredients or is easy to prepare.

It’s clear that food marketers never think in just black and white. The next time you hit the market, look at the colors in your cart and snap a picture for your Rise coach, who is always available to help you see beyond the pretty packaging.


Written by Joanne Perez, MS, RDN, LD. Joanne is a Rise Coach and Registered Dietitian. She has over 20 years of experience in nutrition counseling and wellness. Joanne loves running, going to the beach and spending time with her kids.  Want to work with Joanne or another Rise coach like her? Get started at www.rise.us/r/JOANNEPEREZ