The Undeniable Value of Color
Color is More Than Trendy
With social media constantly pushing the boundaries of “exciting” and “unique” further and further, colorful, interactive food and beverages continue to get wilder. Online “share-ability” is now a major innovation theme for food and beverage manufacturers.
The COVID-19 pandemic has added an additional dimension. The novel coronavirus forced many consumers to rethink how to feed their families given the lockdowns. Data indicates that while initially many consumers turned to traditional center store staple items, over time there is growing interest in more inspired eating at home options.
Instagram-ability is not the only driver of growing interest in color. As we have previously discussed, research has shown that color vibrancy will impact how we perceive the taste of food and beverages. In many instances, color has a greater impact on taste perception than flavor.
Many Consumers Prefer Natural Colors
Although humans prefer more brightly colored food, increasingly consumers are concerned about the use of synthetic colors. Five years ago, only about one third of consumers were “very concerned” about artificial colors. In 2020, that number jumped to almost 50%, with only 18% say they are not concerned about artificial colors in food and beverages (Sensient Online Consumer Study 2015-2020).
Sensient Online Consumer Study 2015-2020
This is despite the fact that research has consistently demonstrated the safety of synthetic color. While we continue to believe that synthetic colors will be around for the long-term, there is no doubt that food manufacturers need to make sure they understand how this trend affects their brand. Whatever the decision, brand owners need to be aware that color will have a significant impact on purchase intent, overall product liking, and flavor perception (Sensient Consumer Research 2019). Because of this, we urge food manufacturers to consider color early on in the formulation process. The selection of flavor and color should ideally be done at the same time.