Colorful and eye-catching packaging helps packaged products across the saturated food and beverage sectors to stand out on the shelves. Package coloring plays a major role in consumer psychology, helping to draw customers’ attention and results in instantaneous judgements about the products before them. Believe it or not, packaging color choices play a major role in food and beverage advertising and sales success. 


Consumer Psychology


According to a study by WebFX, consumers make a subconscious judgement about a food or beverage product within 90 seconds of seeing the product. Additionally, 62% to 90% of those people make that judgement based solely on the color of the packaging, emphasizing that color is much easier to register and digest than text on product packaging. Nearly 85% of consumers report that the color of the packaging is what ultimately made them decide to purchase a certain product.


What are the Most Popular Colors for Food & Packaging Design?


Packaging Digest reports on a study completed by Electrix, which digitally analyzed nearly 2,500 grocery items to determine which colors are used most often to influence the decision-making process and buying habits of consumers. 


Using Walmart’s online grocery service, Electrix analyzed 2,422 products from 10 different food and beverage categories – ranging from candy and canned food to soda and beer. 


Interestingly, the study found that neutral colors were the most popular choices for most of the reviewed food and beverage categories. Gray was the most popular choice for canned goods, cereal, coffee, cookies, ice cream, and potato chips. Gold was the most popular color choice for candy, soda, and tea, and ivory was the most used color for chocolate products. 


The most common accent colors include blues, reds, green, black, and orange. 


Our Emotional Response to Color


A product’s packaging design typically closely mirrors the overall image of it’s brand. Because colors are capable of inciting strong emotions, appropriate branding and use of consistent coloring connects the brand with a positive and memorable product experience. 


It makes sense then, that red is such a common accent color among food and beverage packaging. Red is a dominant color, inciting passion, heightened awareness, and a sense of importance. Red is best used in moderation, as it can be overwhelming and aggressive in large quantities. 


Blue is the color of trust, explaining why it is also a common choice among the food and beverage industries. Blue brings up feelings of calm, security, safety, and serenity – in many ways blue is the counterpoint to red. 


Gray was the most common primary color used on packaging across brands in the Electrix study, and when we take a look at how gray makes us feel within the context of packaging design, it makes perfect sense. Gray can easily be paired with almost any other color, but also reflects some of the properties of both black and white. It feels fresh and clean without the “emptiness” associated with a white canvas. Like black, grey can also be bold, confident, and attention-grabbing. Grey is also formal and professional, making it an ideal backdrop for packaging design across industries. 


As you begin to design your food and beverage labels, think about your brand and the message you’re hoping to convey about your product through its packaging. Colors will play an integral role in how your product is received.

For more information on packaging design and to get in touch with our designers, tell us about your product here.