The Color of Food Trumps How it Tastes

Blue is not a good color choice for food environments, like a dining room or a kitchen.  You have probably heard that red is supposed to stimulate the appetite and blue kills it.  It doesn’t quite work so literally but red is one of those colors that are conducive with the typical functions of spaces where food is prepared and/or served.  Red supports an atmosphere of appetizing, congregating, and a conversational vibe.  Blue has different psychological associations.  Depending upon the exact tint, tone or shade, blue can cast doubts about freshness, quality, and even safety as blue can subconsciously communicate “toxic”.

Because blue foods rarely occur naturally, it is my opinion that blue does not align with our expectations of appetizing.  And I mean truly blue foods.  Not purple-blue like a blue potato which is a hybrid potato or blueberries; both have a purplish tint

Blue potatoes

Blue colored food is more of a processed novelty and it is often associated with marketing food and candy to kids.  The misalignment of natural, fresh, healthy foods and the color blue is the reason why I am rather choosy about specifying blue for a room that functions around food.

Blue velvet cupcake

The infographic below highlights the health risks tied to dying food so it looks more colorful and appealing.  Appealing, appetizing color is critical as far as food is concerned because we do indeed eat with our eyes first.  In this video from ABC News, reporter Dan Harris puts color to the test.  A taste test that is.

The results of how important color is to food and its perceived flavor are shocking.

Across genders and age groups, the video demonstrates that the color of food trumps the reality of how it tastes.

I would have loved to see the same people test the same foods but blindfolded.  Without the color cues, I am curious if their taste buds would have registered the correct flavors.

Watch the video, look at the infographic, and let me know what you think.  The color of food is obviously extremely important, but what about the colors we choose for the spaces where we prepare and eat our food?

Colors-to-dye-for infographic

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