The Undeniable Value of Colour

Colour is More Than Trendy

With social media constantly pushing the boundaries of “exciting” and “unique” further, colourful, interactive food and beverages are becoming increasingly creative. Online “shareability” is now a major innovation theme for food and beverage manufacturers. Yet “instagramability” is not the only driver of growing interest in colour. As our U.S. colleagues have previously discussed on our website, research has shown that colour vibrancy will impact how we perceive the taste of food and beverages. In many instances, colour has a greater impact on taste perception than flavour!

The COVID-19 pandemic has added an additional dimension. The coronavirus forced many consumers to rethink how to feed their families given the lockdowns. Data indicates that while initially many consumers turned to traditional center store staple items, over time there is growing interest in more inspired eating at home options. In fact, 40% of consumers in France and the UK have post-COVID-19 resolutions to make more home-cooked meals vs. eating away from home, as Mintel reports.

Consumer Preference for Natural Products

Five years ago in the U.S., one third of consumers were “very concerned” about artificial colours. In 2020, that number jumped to almost 50%, with only 18% saying they are not concerned about artificial colours in food and beverages (Sensient US Online Consumer Study 2015-2020). In Europe, 4 out of 10 consumers consider “no artificial ingredient” as the most important factor when looking for healthy ingredients, as Mintel reports in 2019.

Consumers have an increasing interest in “better-for-you” nutrition and a desire to increase the amount of healthy food options in their diet. Combining that desire for natural ingredients with humans’ inherent preference for brightly coloured food, there is no doubt that food manufacturers need to make sure they understand how these trends affect their brand. Brand owners need to be aware that colour will have a significant impact on purchase intent, overall product preference, and flavour perception (Sensient Consumer Research 2019). Because of this, we urge food manufacturers to consider colour early in the formulation process. The selection of flavour and colour should ideally be done at the same time.

To learn more about Sensient’s colour research, watch this on-demand webinar where our Marketing team shares data and insights on the quantifiable value of vibrant colour:

If you’re ready to add value to your next project with nature’s rainbow, request a sample here. If you still have questions, feel free to reach out to me and my team by scheduling a personalized consultation—we love to talk food colour!

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