Why Use Colors?

5 Reasons to Use Color

  1. Color in foods has a long and fascinating history worldwide.

Foods and beverages have been colored throughout history.

Wine has been colored since 400 BC, candy has been colored as far back as ancient Egyptians, and butter has been colored since at least the 14th century.

Colors derived from flowers, minerals, wood, insects and animals have been used for centuries.

  1. Color impacts how we perceive food.

Color is often the first characteristic that influences the purchasing decision, especially for new products.

Dr. Fergus Clydesdale, currently a Distinguished University Professor, Department of Food Science, University of Massachusetts Amherst and Director of the University of Massachusetts Food Science Policy Alliance, has stated, “Color is associated with many of our day-to-day decisions, including those involving food. The esthetics, safety, sensory characteristics, and acceptability of food are all affected by color.” (Clydesdale, F.M. (1993) Color as a factor in food choice. Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition. 33(1):83-101).

Colored foods and beverages are often more appealing visually and directly impact the perception of quality and overall experience

Color also influences flavor perception and both formal and informal studies have shown that it is difficult to differentiate between flavors in the absence of visual “color” clues.

An informal taste test conducted by an IACM member company affirmed that color affects taste perception. The study offered teenagers three different colored beverages that all had the same lemon-lime flavor, but were not told that the flavors were identical. An overwhelming majority of the students responded inaccurately that the beverages had different flavors. A trial conducted by ABC News in 2011 showed comparable results.

  1. Color can be added to food and beverages to restore the inherent color lost during processing to return it back to the original shade or to associate the food with a specific flavor.

Color can also reduce batch-to-batch variation to consistently deliver the same product to consumers.

  1. Colors are safe to use.

To protect the customer, food laws have been developed around the world and have evolved primarily as positive lists that define substances that may be added to color food with the maximum amounts allowed, per strict purity specifications.

Several expert committees such as EFSA and JECFA are mandated to assess the safety of food additives and to make recommendations to policy makers who are responsible for controlling the use of additives via regulations and standards, or through harmonizing of international guidelines.

  1. Colors can be sustainably produced.

Those colors commonly referred to as “natural” are typically sourced from natural and renewable resources.

Fruit, vegetable and spice based colors provide livelihoods to farmers and suppliers of these safe raw materials, as well as the manufacturers who use these ingredients to create safe color additives.