Colour and food come together to create unprecedented products

Posted on 17 April, 2018

Neurogastronomy has shown us that the palate is not the only thing involved in the enjoyment of food. Senses such as smell, sight and hearing are equally important when determining the perception of a dish. Neuromarketing, on the other hand, shows us how each colour affects us in a certain way. In the food industry both fields come together to create absolutely novel foods and sensations.

Nature, colour and food

Innovation and surprise also form part of how food is perceived. But this does not mean that any novelty will succeed. There is a reason why so few blue foods are manufactured. It’s because the brain doesn’t perceive this colour as appetizing. On the other hand, reds, oranges and yellows, including the entire range of ochres and even brown, are attractive colours on the palate. Thus, the range of warm colours is used when innovating to create new foods.

Why warm colours instead of cold colours in foods?

If we leave aside green, which is associated with fresh vegetables and therefore with health, the warm colours are the most attractive. It has been shown that red sugar confections are the most in demand. And that red food is perceived as a delicacy. For its part, the colour orange evokes a sense of wellbeing, while yellow gives us energy. This is why warm colours are preferable.

Natural colorants and new food products

Yellow: One of the most commonly used natural food colours is a constituent of turmeric. Curcumin gives foods a vibrant yellow colour. The brain associates it with citrus fruits and, therefore, with the vitamins these contain. Yellow is the colour of creativity and energy. Yellow foods produce a feeling of happiness almost instantly and are associated with holidays and leisure.

Red: Red pepper extract and lycopene, from tomatoes, are the colorants most used to provide food with that attractive red colour. Red foods are perceived as delicacies. That’s why red or fuchsia sugar confections sell best. Moreover, red is immediately associated with sweetness and therefore pleasure.

Ochres and browns come from caramel and malt and are widely used in cakes and pastries. This range of colours evokes the home, wellbeing and safety. The lighter brown foods are associated with childhood. The case of chocolate brown is special because this product is associated more directly with pleasure than any other.

All these colours are associated with one or several emotions. Emotions on which the actual purchase of the product depends to a great extent.

Vegan food and its colour palette

The growingly pronounced trend in favour of foods with more vegetable ingredients has become a veritable treasure-trove when it comes to designing new products with very varied colours and novel textures. For example, raw red beetroot pâté and orange lentil and apple pâté. And pasta, traditionally made with wheat flour, is now appearing on the market in colours such as orange and green and made with lentils. This raises its protein content and helps to eliminate gluten from the diet.

The only thing that has to be taken into account when giving foods or traditional products new colours is how they will be perceived by the consumers. At Sensory Value we can help you. Don’t hesitate to contact us.

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