Colour – The Unspoken Language Of Food

In recent years there has been a noticeable increase in the emphasis on healthier food choices and lifestyle changes for a healthy diet for a healthier life. In the year 2022, the value of health foods in the global market was at $841 billion, and by 2026 is expected to reach $1 trillion. Widely drawn to rainbow eating, which is another term that means eating in colour, is linked to a healthier and sustainable relationship with eating food. Thus the priority of choosing the product is on color, many food industries are utilizing it in the product or colored packaging to appeal to the consumer.

Colour Connections

As Kandinsky said, “Color is a power which directly influences the soul”. People tend to associate specific colors with particular tastes believing color holds the memory of past experience. The colour of the product directly acts on the optical, neurological, and physiological functions of the consumer providing a sense of human emotion. Each colour has its implicative meaning in people that affects their sensory perception and behavioural response, for example, warm colours like red, yellow, and orange can be associated with sensations of closeness, and happiness. Similarly, cool colours like blue, purple, and green are associated with relaxation and calmness.


Image 1: In-house smoothies  

  The color in the food market:

“The warm colours ranging between yellow and orange are more attractive” according to Oterra. The connection between colour psychology and consumer acceptance has created a whole new environment in business for marketing. The brands of the major food industry use bright colours to attract consumers. While discussing about aesthetics, it often comes to the matter of what beauty means and how beauty is described. Even this matter has been in debates from ancient times, and claimed to involve the feeling of the observer on a particular object and what makes the object beautiful. Decades of research state that colour is the key factor for consumers to decide on consumption and is the consumer’s main scale for categorizing the product’s number of reasons that food and drink have been coloured, including capturing the shopper’s visual attention by signalling the likely taste/flavour. Companies are to present products in the market are making them visually appealing by packaging or coloring. Even the food technologist found out that color is most preferred over texture and flavor of food which is not implied in the food coloring industry growth.

Natural food colour vs artificial food colour.

Image 2: Natural colouring food

Most trending fusion food articles like noddles and dumplings are made colourful by adding beetroot juice or matcha powder or more. Similarly, hibiscus, butterfly pea, turmeric, spinach, tomatoes, and more are being used in food to make it more appealing to consumers. Natural food colouring, commonly referred to as bio-colouring, is the term for substances that have the ability to add colour to food, according to Rymbai et al. Although some have been isolated from algae, insects, and mammals, plants are the main source of them. While there has long been public concern over the use of artificial/synthetic food colours, it should be remembered that food and drink products (e.g., red wine) have been purposefully coloured for millennia.

Image 3: Rainbow foods

Red Positivity effect- love, sweetness, and ripeness.Cranberry, beetroot, watermelon, tomato, pomegranate, radish, strawberry


E number

Mainly used in
Carmine (Cochineal)E 120Alcoholic beverages, cheese
AzorubineE 122Pudding, convenience products, confectionery
AmaranthE 123Liqueurs, fish roe
Cochineal Red AE 124 Fruit jellies, pollack spread, confectionery



Green Freshness and healthy Avocado, cucumber, spinach, kale, broccoli, snow pea, zucchini, artichoke

E number Mainly used in
Spirulina extractE 134Beverage bases, breakfast cereals, cocoa products, confectionery products
Chlorophyll, Chlorophyllins E 140Chewing gum, confectionery
Copper complexes of chlorophylls and chlorophyllinsE 141Chewing gum, confectionery
Green SE 142Confectionery
Fast Green FCFE 143Green peas and other vegetables, jellies, sauces, fish, desserts, and dry bakery mixes



BlueTrust and tranquility In food items, it’s found unusual and unappetizing.Blueberry, Blue Pea Flower, Elderberries, Blue Pansy Flower.


E number

Mainly used in
Patent Blue VE 131Glazes, beverages, confectionery
IndigotineE 132Glazes, beverages, confectioner
Brilliant Blue FCFE133Sweets, beverages
YellowHappiness, joy and warmth.Pineapple, corn, turmeric, lemon, banana.

NameE number Mainly used in
Riboflavin-5’-PhosphateE 101aMayonnaise, pasta, soups
Tartrazine E 102 Sherbet powder, fruit essences, aroma liqueur
Quinoline YellowE 104 Pudding powder, smoked fish, Easter egg dyes
Orange Yellow SE 110 Apricot jam, ready-made soups, cheese sauce,marzipan

Colour is a key sensory quality that can influence people’s perspective on acceptance of food, their appetites, and how they decide what to buy. Visually appealing food products will tend to give a better taste and be preferred over non-appealing products. These days, colour is considered not only an aesthetic factor but also a criterion for expression, advertising, and even status value.


{{Ms. Kavya}}

Associate Consultant at Food Safety Works; works with the inhouse New Product Development team. With an Inquisitive mind and being a food enthusiast she is always on the lookout for knowledge and learnings to broaden her expertise in food science.

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