Psychology of Colour in Candy

How Hues Influence Our Sweet Choices

Colors play a pivotal role in our daily lives, influencing our emotions, decisions, and even our taste buds. This is especially true in the world of candy, where vibrant hues beckon us from store shelves and determine our sweet selections. But have you ever wondered why certain candy colors are more appealing than others? Let's unwrap the psychology behind it.

The Power of First Impressions: Before we even taste a candy, its color makes a first impression. Studies have shown that our brains make a judgment about food within 90 seconds, and color accounts for 62-90% of that assessment. A candy's hue can set our taste expectations, and if the flavor doesn't match the anticipated color, our brains can get confused. Source

Green - The Fresh Flavor Indicator: Green usually signifies a minty or apple flavor in the candy world. It's also associated with feelings of relaxation and calmness. However, it's a tricky color; while some see it as fresh and natural, others might associate it with sourness, like green apples or lime.

Yellow & Orange - The Happy Hues: Associated with the sun, warmth, and happiness, candies in yellow and orange often promise a fun, tropical, or citrusy flavor. These colors are also believed to stimulate appetite, making them popular choices for candy manufacturers.

Red & Pink - The Leaders of Temptation: Reds and pinks are often associated with sweet and fruity flavors. Think of strawberries, cherries, and raspberries. These colors stimulate excitement and are known to increase the heart rate, making candies of these shades hard to resist.

Blue & Purple - The Exotic Enigmas: Historically, there are very few naturally blue or purple foods, making these colors a bit of a mystery in the candy realm. They often indicate a berry flavor or something more exotic. Interestingly, blue is known to be an appetite suppressant, yet blue candies are still popular, perhaps due to their unique appeal. Source

Brown & Black - The Bold Choices: Brown often indicates chocolate, caramel, or coffee flavors - rich and indulgent choices. Black, on the other hand, can be polarizing. While it's commonly linked to licorice flavor, it's also associated with mystery and sophistication.

The Multicolored Appeal: Rainbow-colored candies, like gummy worms or certain lollipops, tap into our sense of adventure and curiosity. The multitude of colors promises a variety of flavors and an exciting taste journey.

Science Rules!

In a fascinating exploration by The Food Theorists, a recent video delved into the profound impact of colour on our taste perceptions, especially in candy. Through a series of experiments with gummy bears, the study revealed that our eyes can deceive our taste buds. Clear gummies were often perceived as flavorless, while the color of the gummies significantly influenced taste perceptions, even when the flavor remained unchanged.

This phenomenon was further underscored by a study from the University of Montreal, which found that even individuals with congenital blindness had taste perceptions influenced by external factors. The power of color in food, particularly candy, is undeniable, reminding us that our eating experience is as much visual as it is auditory and tactile.

So, the next time you reach for your favourite candy, take a moment to think about how its color influences your choice. The interplay between sight and taste is a fascinating dance, and understanding it adds another layer of appreciation for our favorite sweet treats. As Birren (1963) memorably said, "Color is forever a part of our food, a visual element to which human eyes, minds, emotions, and palates are sensitive."


Colors significantly influence our candy choices. Our brains judge food largely based on color, setting taste expectations even before we eat. For instance, reds and pinks evoke sweet flavors, while blues are seen as exotic. A study by The Food Theorists found that color can even deceive our taste perceptions, with clear candies often perceived as flavorless. Even those with congenital blindness aren't immune to external influences on taste. In essence, the visual appeal of candy plays a crucial role in our overall tasting experience.

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