Color psychology plays a key role in our food choices and the way that we perceive the taste of the food.

People will associate different colors to different foods. Learning how color affects food choice is vital in the hospitality and food industry.

A Complete Guide on How Color Affects Food Choices

Our daily lives are surrounded with colors. Colors can have direct effect on our motivation, productivity, arousal, and mood.

It will make you feel cold or warm. It serves as a visual stimulus that allows us to make judgment based solely on the color presented.

Colors can have physical and psychological association that is a powerful element on the way we perceive things.

Orange and red can make the food appear full of vitality and exciting. Blue and green on the other hand will add a rejuvenating and relaxing effect on the food.

A Feast for the Eye

Food will be first visualized before we place them in our mouth to eat. The food around us are available in a range of colors.

Based on color psychology, colors can influence our mood and our mood can greatly affect our appetite. Palatability and the food color are always associated with each other.

Different studies have already confirmed that color is related with the food acceptability, pleasantness, preference, taste perception, and threshold.

The color may also indicate food safety. When the food is already past the expiration date, it may turn brown or grey. Black may be a sign that a food is burned or overcooked.

Bright foods with vivid colors can signify that the food has a high nutritional content.  Our innate sense to identify the safe food from the toxic one is related to color perception.

The Color and Nutritional Value

The natural colors of the vegetables and fruits are influenced by the phytochemicals. The bioactive compound of the food depends on the dominant color of the food.

Purple and Blue

Foods that have this color such as eggplants and plums are usually high in the antioxidant known as anthocyanin.

They can assist in maintaining the optimal function of our brain and heart. Anthocyanin can also reduce the probability of macular degeneration and the development of cancer.


Different red fruits are essential for people with a diabetic condition. They are highly vulnerable to heart disease.

Tomatoes and figs have a high content of potassium that regulates the blood pressure. It also contains lycopene that is considered good for our heart.

Nonetheless, people who are suffering from kidney disease should control their potassium intake.

Yellow and Orange

Yellow and orange food will usually have high amount of beta carotene that is good for our eye.

It contains antioxidants that will be converted to Vitamin A that makes our skin look healthy, fights cancer, and maintains the function of the eye.

Orange may also contain vitamin C, bromelain, folic acid, and potassium.

Some foods that are high in Vitamin C includes papaya, mangoes, cantaloupe, peaches, sweet potatoes, and bell pepper.


Our parents will always remind us to eat our green and leafy vegetables. You need to find a food that has the darker shade of green.

Apart from being a good source of Vitamin A, it can also supply you with a rich amount of Calcium.

If you hate the taste of dairy product, you need to make sure that you will have a daily intake of greens.

Brussel sprouts and broccoli can also be a potent source of Vitamin A. Cabbage and kiwis contains increased level of Vitamin C.


Most people will have white foods in their diet such as potato chips and white bread that are processed and unhealthy.

However, there are white foods that are also nutritional such as cauliflower, onions, and mushrooms.

Apart from the cauliflower, other foods that are high in vitamin C include fish, turnip, and white beans.

Potatoes are excellent source of potassium and fennel will be high in fiber that is good for our digestive system.

Based on the study that was published at the Scientific Reports, the evolution of our visual system enables us to identify the energy and nutritional content of food.

According to the said study, humans will examine the food with trichromatic vision.

This pertains to the light-sensitive area of the eye that permits us to look at the colors on its entire visual spectrum.

The biggest benefit of this is perhaps our ability to determine the quality, density, and nutrients of food.

Color Preference Affecting Your Food Choices

We usually judge our food with our eyes before we have a taste of the food. Colors are not only associated to nutrients, but they can also be related to the taste of the food.

In fact, businesses that are operating in the food manufacturing industry will often utilize the color to fool their consumers.

Reds are Sweet

You may not be aware of it, but you will often be drawn into the reddest apple in the fruit stand.

During your childhood days, you will pick the red popsicle first and the purple ones will often be left behind.

In a study entitled Journal of Sensory Studies, people were asked to drank glasses of wine that is under a range of color lighting.

People initially thought that the wine in the red lighting is sweeter. However, the wines used are identical.

Blue Can Make You Feel Sick

In another study that proves about the influence of color on food, a group of people were invited to feast on a steak in a dark room.

When the researchers turned on the light, they noticed that the steak has a blue color and at least half of the participants got sick.

Perhaps this is because blue is not usually common in nature. It gives us the warning that the food is poisonous.

If you want to control your appetite and you are on a diet, try to put your foods into a blue plate.

Bright Colors are Usually Better

Before posting the photo of the food on your Instagram profile, you will first increase the saturation of the picture. You need to make the color of the pictures extra bright.

Vegetables and fruits that have bright color will usually have a high nutritional content.

The entire eating experience will be more satisfying and healthier if the foods have brighter shade.


White color can trick our mind and compel us to over-eating. This is since white is always been related to something harmless and empty.

In case you are binge watching your favorite show on Netflix while enjoying a bowl of popcorn and your vanilla ice cream, you should stop and reconsider your choices on food.

Colors and How it Influences Food Sales

Colors will influence people not only in terms of conscious level. It has long been proven that it also affects our subconscious mind.

Food pairing and color are known to be powerful especially when using the relation of emotional connection to the taste of the food.

Here’s how you can take advantage of the color of food to boost your company’s sales.

Red and Yellow

These two are the primary color of food. This evoke our taste sense and make things appear more appetizing. They are also effective when grabbing the interest of the customer.


This is a combination of the yellow and red. It is another color that can be potentially appetizing.

Orange is the latest trend in the food industry. You need to be very cautious when using this since popularity can be effective or detrimental depending on your situation.

Be sure to think about the context of the food before you introduce this color on your food product.


Foods that have green color will look more organic to the consumers. Green often means that the product is eco-friendly.

However, there are instance that the green may create an unappetizing product. Be careful in using too much green on your product.

Purple and Blue

These are cool colors that can lead to negative effect on your food product if used inappropriately.

The cool colors will not also stimulate the appetite that much as compared to the warm colors.

Again, you need to consider the application and context of your food before using these colors.


This is an indication of something clean and pure. However, it may also result to a product looking boring and plain.


If you want your food item to look luxurious, the color black might be an excellent choice.


When using the colors in your food product, you need to know how color affects food choices of the consumers.

If you are marketing a juice with a blueberry flavor, having orange as the dominant color will not boost your sales.

Use colors to reinforce your product visually. This will help you trigger the different senses of your targeted consumers.

Colors has the capacity to conjure feelings, memories, taste, and smell of the food.

Thank you for taking the time to read this article !