How deep are color-taste associations?



Dive Brief:



·A new study from Penn State confirms longstanding research into the relationship between color and taste. What consumers see when they eat matters as much — if not more— than what they taste.

宾夕法尼亚州立大学的一项新研究证实了长期以来探索的颜色和味觉之间的关系。 消费者在吃东西时看到的东西与他们品尝到的味道同样重要,甚至更为重要。

·Researchers gave participants different colors of liquid with different tastes — including bitter, sweet, savory and sour. Participants then tried clear liquids with the same taste profiles, and they were asked to associate them with a color.

研究人员给实验者提供不同颜色、不同口味的液体,包括苦的、甜的、咸的和酸的。 然后,参与者尝试了具有相同味道的透明液体,并要求他们将这些液体与一种颜色联系起来。

·Researchers found these associations are easy to learn, and ones that are currently common — like red for sweet or yellow for sour — may not be set in stone. Six in 10 study participants learned new color-flavor pairings after four exposures.

研究人员发现,这些联系很容易掌握,目前比较常见的联系——比如红色代表甜,黄色代表酸——可能不会一成不变。 研究中10个参与者中就有6个人在四次接触后学习了新的颜色与味道的搭配。

Dive Insight:


What consumers expect when they see a food primes the palate to taste certain flavors. The strong associations between color and flavor are well established in the scientific community. Research on the subject dates back to the 1970s. For example, consumers expect yellow foods to be sour or citrusy.

当消费者看到一种食物时,他们所期望的是让他们的味蕾尝到某种口味。 颜色和味道之间的强烈联系在科学界已经得到了很好的证实。而关于这个问题的研究可以追溯到20世纪70年代。比如消费者看到黄色食品时会期望它是酸的或柑橘味的。

Branding, packaging and color quality of the product itself play a big part in creating and maintaining expectations. Food brands have long understood this and worked to establish standards. Federal regulations grade the color of orange juice. Businesses offer color-matching services for companies to select the right hue for a particular product. In some cases, color can overpower other senses and convince people they taste flavors that aren't there.

产品的品牌,包装和颜色质量本身在创造和维持期望方面发挥着重要作用。食品商早就了解这一点,并努力建立标准。 联邦法规对橙汁的颜色进行评级。 企业为公司提供颜色匹配服务,以便为特定产品选择正确的色调。 在某些情况下,颜色可以压倒其他感官并让人们以为他们尝到了不一样的味道。

The Penn State researchers set out to test if they could teach color-taste correlations, and found the linkages could be more flexible than many thought in some cases.


"This might have implications in the food industry if a company were to launch a new flavored product with a color. Some consumers might not learn or accept a new color and flavor pairing as well as others," Penn State food sciences doctoral candidate Molly J. Higgins said in a written statement. 

"如果有公司推出一种带有颜色的新型调味品,这可能会对整个食品行业产生影响。 宾夕法尼亚州立大学食品科学博士候选人莫莉 · j · 希金斯在一份书面声明中说:"有的消费者可能不会像其他人一样愿意学习或接受一种新的颜色和口味搭配。"

Although it may be possible to radically alter food colors, it may not be advisable. According to this study, 40% of consumers would be left behind, stuck on familiar patterns. That’s a big gamble for food brands to take. Consumers tend to want to know what they’re in for when they select a product — and color is a big part of that. While it's interesting that consumer expectations for colors could shift, the risk of unexpected colors is high for any company.  

尽管有可能从根本上改变食物的颜色,但这也是不可取的。 根据这项研究,40% 的消费者会落后并坚持他们熟悉的模式。 对于食品商来说,这是一场巨大的赌博。消费者在选择产品时往往想知道自己喜欢什么,而颜色是其中很重要的一个因素。然而有趣的是,消费者对颜色的期望往往会发生变化,但是对于任何公司来说,采用意想不到的颜色,风险是很高的。

Many food brands rely on visual expectations to pull customers into unfamiliar products. Take alternative protein: a burger that mimics the appearance and color of a beef patty elicits a different reaction than a green-hued veggie-dense alternative.

许多食品商依靠视觉预期来吸引顾客购买他们不熟悉的产品。比如同样都是蛋白质: 一个模仿牛肉饼的外观和颜色的汉堡比浓密的绿色蔬菜更加吸引人

But while today's consumer has expectations for flavors of items with different colors, he also has expectations that natural ingredients be used. While these ingredients are often preferable, they present a challenge. General Mills switched out artificial dyes for natural ones in Trix cereal. Customer outrage followed. Many found the earthier tones depressing, despite no change in flavor. Chemicals and all, they wanted the original back. The company eventually switched back, opting to prioritize color.

但是,尽管今天的消费者对不同颜色的食品的味道有所期待,但人们更希望使用天然的原材料。这些天然的材料是更可取的选项,但它们也意味着挑战。General Mills 公司对 Trix 谷物中的天然染料进行了人工染色,引起了消费者的强烈不满。 尽管味道没有改变,但很多人还是觉得这种土黄色很怪异。较之化学药品,他们更想要原有的食品颜色。该公司最终改变了主意,选择优先考虑颜色。