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Visual Communication. Natural Food Packaging Colors

Color is one of the key attributes that help people associate with the product that a package contains. Applying the right color scheme is often the key determinant of a product’s success since using the wrong coloring deters consumers from purchasing the product. The modern market environment is the result of years of research and adaptation of products to their target markets. It is, therefore, imperative for food marketers to understand the effects that the coloring on their packages has on consumers’ purchasing intentions. In this modern competitive market environment, product differentiation is everything and the ability to select the right color often determines a product’s success.

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Different food products have different natural colors and these determine the color used in the packaging. Our psychology pushes us away from products whose package color is not congruent with the color that we associate with the food inside (Kaszubowski). As a result, flavored products such as yogurt often have their packages colored according to the flavor of the product that they contain. However, fresh milk is sold in packages that use its distinct white shade as its primary color. Other branding details on the packages differ from one producer to another. Other products like cheese have yellow as the dominant hue in their color schemes (Dhar, et al., 2005). According to Ahmadi, Bahrami, & Ahani (2013), these associations are vital in psychologically convincing the consumer that the packaged product is what they require.

Prepared foods such as bread have transparent packages that allow customers a glimpse of the products inside, which enables them to ascertain freshness and the quality of the product before purchasing it (Mohebbi, 2014). In the case of specialized products such as milk bread or brown bread, producers often include visuals to highlight these as different products. Brown-bread packages are therefore often brown, and fruit bread packages are colored according to the fruit additive involved (Dhar, et al., 2005). Baked products such as cakes also follow the same packaging trend for the same marketing and visibility reasons, and this allows consumers to select their desired combinations quickly.

Fresh meat products make up a sizeable chunk of our diets and customers place a lot of significance on the quality of the portions they select. These products are especially vulnerable to decay and, therefore, they use transparent packaging to allow maximum visual access to the consumer. Beef and mutton products bear distinctly scarlet design colors while other products such as poultry have a yellow hue associated with their packages (Dhar, et al., 2005). In contrast, pork products have pink coloring on their packages while fish products predominantly come with white detailing on their packages (Kaszubowski). These color scheme differences allow consumers to identify the location of the products they require quickly, without reading through all the items displayed in the aisle.

Consumers’ attention to products increases when these products utilize well-informed color scheme choices. Color psychology emphasizes the need for producers to use the natural colors of the food products that they market when coloring the packages that will contain these products. Fresh milk products that use a white color scheme are more poised to attract consumer attention and confidence. In the same light, meat products that detail their packages with the color that the fresh product displays also place themselves in a position to gain consumer confidence. As for bread products, transparent packaging with the detailed color selected according to the flavoring or additives in the product helps motivate active purchasing intentions.


Ahmadi, G., Bahrami, H. R., & Ahani, M. (2013). An Investigation of Visual Components of Packaging on Food Consumer Behavior. Business and Economic Research, 2162-2172.

Dhar, R., Dordi, M. C., Bandekar, S. H., Adak, S. C., Sharma, A. K., Variyar, P. S.,… Sabapathy, S. N. (2005). Plastics for Food Packaging. Mumbai: Indian Centre for Plastics in the Environment. Kaszubowski, R. (n.d.). How to Use Color in Food Packaging. Journal of Student Research, 61-65.

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Mohebbi, B. (2014). The Art of Packaging: An Investigation into the Role of Color in Packaging, Marketing and Branding. International Journal of Organizational Leadership, 92-102.

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