Optimizing Colour in Plant-Based Meat

Why Does Colour Matter?
Colour has a substantial impact on consumer taste perception, purchase intent, and interest in food and beverage products—but you don’t have to take my word for it. Sensient’s value of colour research quantified this impact, so that brands and developers can understand the importance of formulating products with colour in mind. Taking the US Mintel data from 2019 as an example, 53% of US consumers agree that a dish’s appearance is a big factor into whether they try to cook it. In Europe, about 4 out of 10 consumers who have not yet eaten meat substitutes stated that the look of meat substitutes “puts them off” trying them. At the same time, more than half of European consumers asked who have consumed meat substitutes recently confirm that meat substitutes should resemble meat products as closely as possible (Mintel 2020).

Our US colleagues at Sensient expanded our online consumer research in 2020 to include plant-based meat alternatives, asking consumers if they would be interested in purchasing a new plant-based burger cooking from a “raw” visual to a “well done” visual. Consumers were 26% more likely to purchase the product when they saw only the juicy red burgers instead of the brown patties. This was further confirmed when they saw both options side-by-side: 63% preferred the more vibrant option, compared to only 22% preferring the second option and 15% stating no preference.


The global meat alternative market was valued at $4.1 billion in 2017 and is expected to reach $8.1 billion by 2026, according to Allied Market Research. While plant-based has been a significant trend in recent years, COVID-19 is actually accelerating its growth. According to 2020 Household Panel data from Suzy, 53% of US consumers are concerned about possible meat shortages in grocery stores and many are turning to plant-based alternatives.


40% of German consumers agree that
the COVID-19 pandemic proves that
humans need to eat fewer animals.

(Mintel 2020)


Colour in Plant-Based Meat and Dairy Alternatives
Plant-based products have been a major focus for our team as we see more and more customer requests for innovative plant-based food colouring and sensory solutions in this growing space. Check out some of our previous blogs on the topic:



Watch the Webinar
We hosted an introductory webinar on the topic of colour in plant-based meat that should help kickstart your innovation process for the next big plant-based product, including colour solutions for burgers, chicken, fish, and other plant-based meat alternatives.



Related Posts