Packaging: The Most Common Colors That Sell Food & Drink

Color psychology plays a major role in advertising and successful sales of consumer products in the food and beverage sector. To see which colors are used the most, Electrix International, a major supplier of electrical enclosures to the food service industry, has analyzed nearly 2500 grocery products to see which shade is used the most to influence the buying habits of grocery shoppers.

What Is The Magic Color?

Across 10 categories, which include cookies, chocolate, soda drinks, and ice cream, the most-used color for packaging is light gray. In fact, 20.6% of all products analyzed are packaged and marketed to consumer using this color. The theme of less vibrant colors follows suit with black in second place (11%), followed by dark red (8%) in third. Consumers are less likely to see light purple, blue, and lime on everyday items. The use of light gray tends to be complemented by dark blue and light blue for cookies and ice creams, while red and dark red appear mostly on coffee, cereal and potato chips.

Category Crunching

Using data from Walmart’s online grocery service, 355 products in ten food and beverage categories were collated. Then an algorithm analyzed colored pixels to calculate the top three colors in each product image. The following list shows a full overview of the products analyzed and the colors used to stand out on shelves:

  1. Candy (234 Products) – gold, orange
  2. Canned Food (354 Products) – light gray, dark blue
  3. Cereal (188 Products) – light gray, dark red
  4. Chocolate (27 products) – ivory, dark gold
  5. Coffee (355 products) – light gray, red
  6. Cookies (330 products) – light gray, dark blue
  7. Ice Creams (321 products) – light gray, light blue
  8. Potato Chips (269 products) – light gray, dark red
  9. Soda (37 products) – dark gold, green
  10. Tea (307 products) – dark gold, black

Just 22% of products tended to have only one color on their packaging with cereal being the most consistent category. Ice Cream is most likely to have more than one color on its packaging, with more variation on the front of their tubs and cartons.