How Packaging Colors Can Make You Hungry

By: phase1
October 15, 2017


In general, your products will only be in front of consumers for two to three seconds when they’re shopping. This brief window makes it imperative to have packaging that triggers as many senses as possible on both conscious and subconscious levels. Color is very effective at evoking sensory responses on many levels even when it comes to making someone feel hungry.

When it’s tied to flavor, color can let consumers know exactly what to expect if they purchase your products. Food products can also be tied to smell, memories and feelings. The colors you use to convey these things can help shoppers make an emotional connection with your products, a connection that may convince them to make a purchase.

What Color Stimulates Appetite?

If you’re wondering why color is important for your packaging and you sell food products, the answer is simple —  colors can make you hungry. Color and food pairings often leverage the emotional connection that consumers have with taste, which can stimulate hunger.

Just as colors like red can leverage that emotional connection successfully and make people feel hungry, other colors can stifle a person’s appetite. When you’re incorporating color into your product design, it’s critical to know which colors stimulate consumers’ appetites and which ones have the opposite effect.

Colors That Reduce Hunger

Here is a list of colors that can repress a person’s hunger:

1. Gray

If you want to establish an emotional connection between shoppers and your food products, you shouldn’t use the color gray on your packaging. If you think about it, there aren’t many gray foods that are appetizing, which is why the color gray steers people away from thoughts of food and eating — gravy may be one of the only exceptions, and that’s more often a rich brown color than gray. In particular, dark gray is unappetizing and can make customers avoid food.

Overall, gray is a gloomy color that lacks energy and reminds people of feeling sad or lonely. As a result, restaurants rarely use gray in their color schemes.

2. Black

Even though black is a slimming color when it’s used for clothing (or perhaps because of that), black is a color that suppresses hunger because it mainly makes people think of burnt food or grime.

Few food products are naturally black. A slight exception is activated charcoal, which is used as food coloring to give ice cream and other sweets a uniquely dark coloring. However, many food companies and advertisers still stay away from black.

3. Brown

Although some consumers may think of homemade bread when they see the color brown, the majority associate this color with burnt food. For this reason, brown is not a color that increases a person’s appetite. Brown immediately makes people think of dirt or unclean surfaces.

4. Purple

Because purple isn’t seen in foods often, it’s easy for shoppers to remember the items that are purple, such as eggplant, red onions and purple cabbage. Since these aren’t products consumers generally flock to the grocery store to buy, purple normally fails to make shoppers feel hungry.

5. Blue

The color blue often has a calming effect on consumers, which typically suppresses their appetite. Blue is also an unnatural color for food products. In fact, even blueberries are actually a deep purple. Since it’s uncommon for food products to be blue, it tends to be a color to avoid when you’re trying to make customers hungry.

Colors That Stimulate Appetite

Which colors make you hungry? These colors can help stimulate the appetite:

1. Turquoise

Although it’s in the same color family as blue, turquoise is an appetite stimulant. People associate this color with happiness and living a carefree life, making the thought of food a little more enjoyable.

Turquoise is a bright, cheerful color that is often used in cake decorating and colorful plating arrangements. Its lightness makes it a good choice for the paint color in a kitchen or dining room.

2. Green

Consumers think of health and abundance when they see the color green, making this color a great choice for natural food products. Because it’s associated with health, green stimulates hunger.

Green is associated with nature, and like blue, it is a relaxing color. Green makes people think of eating fresh, healthy foods, like tasty salads and delicious green smoothies. A light green is a good choice for painting a dining room.

3. Yellow

Happiness is often associated with yellow. When people are in a good mood, they’re probably more apt to celebrate an occasion or engage positively with food. This stimulating color is a food industry favorite.

Yellow foods are common, from cheese to bananas to corn. It’s easy to see why food industry leaders use this color on signage and packaging to attract hungry customers.

4. Orange

Orange makes shoppers feel welcome, which makes having something to eat seem like a good idea. This color has the added advantage of stimulating the brain, which also leads to an increased appetite.

5. Red

Have you ever asked yourself, “Why does the color red make me feel hungry?” If so, the answer is because this color raises your blood pressure and heart rate, which makes you feel hungry. Red is bright, attention-grabbing and stimulating, making it a research-backed pick for food advertisers everywhere.

Customers associate the color red with meat, ripe fruits and sauces. Using red for junk food packaging is also popular. Ultimately, this color is at the heart of a good meal or a tasty snack. Since red is such a dominant color, it is often combined with a softer color to create a winning color scheme in food advertising.

A Color That Stimulates Thirst

Blue reminds people of water, especially on a hot day. Although this color may be a less fitting choice for food products, it does work for beverages. It is a cool color that makes customers feel the need to grab a yummy chilled drink.

Phase 1 Prototypes

Now that you know which colors stimulate and suppress hunger, you’re ready to choose colors for your product design. Once you’ve finished your design, contact Phase 1 Prototypes so we can make a mockup of your product packaging.

You can use our prototypes to test your packaging to make sure it influences hunger the way you intend it to. Once we receive final approval for your design, we can get your prototypes to you in three days or less.

We know choosing product design colors is worrisome for some manufacturers because they’re concerned about how their chosen colors will actually look on a finished package. That’s where our prototypes are helpful because you can see mockups before you invest thousands of dollars in packaging you’re just not sure about.

Contact Phase 1 Prototypes to learn more. If you’re ready to order your packaging, request a quote today.

Phase 1 Prototypes

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