On the changing colour of food & drink

There is an imbalance between consistency and natural variations when it comes to the visual characteristics of the food and beverages are related. Although most natural items tend to change in appearance as they age or ripen, processed foods have been specifically formulated or designed to keep the same (optimal) visual appearance throughout the lifespan (or shelf life) that the item is on shelves. That said, food and beverage companies sometimes suddenly change the color of their products (e.g., to address legislation around the use of artificial food colors due to changing consumer preferences/interests or to capture the consumers’ attention on the shelf). Many modernist chefs, particularly those fond of molecular cuisine/cuisine and mixologists, are also more attracted to (changing) the color of the food and beverages offered (either to delight or surprise their guests or to appeal to their Instagram people on Instagram). It is interesting to note that several novel chemical or technological methods of altering the appearance characteristics of food and drinks in real-time were developed recently, which raises the issue of how people react. The setting in which the color change takes place, as well as the reason for the cause, can contribute to determining the acceptance by consumers of these new and innovative changes to how food items appear and drinks and beverages, particularly given the general aversion among consumers to the colors of food that appear (perceived as) artificial.


Many vegetables and fruits change their color (and other physical appearance characteristics) as they ripen and eventually age, decay, or rot. Indeed, many observers have speculated that the emergence of tri-chromatic color vision in primates may be due to the capability that it had previously provided to pick out the ripe and thus energy-dense red fruits amongst the dark green foliage of the jungle canopy (e.g., lookup Bompas and colleagues. 2013, 2013; Foroni et al. in 2016 Schaefer and Schmidt (2013); however; it is worth noting that this idea has been a source of controversy). As per Allman (2000, page. 454)) the development of coloration in plants and the ability to recognize these signals could be a result of evolution that occurred long earlier in the evolution of life (Polyak, 1957). Certain natural products have altered their color. For instance, carrots used to be white and black. They also had yellow, black, and purple (Cone, 2009; Dalby, 2003). The bright orange hue we are familiar with nowadays is an outcome of selective breeding. Notably, in the 17th Century, people in The Netherlands worked to develop an orange-colored carrot that had a bright orange color in honor of the House of Orange (e.g., Carter, 2011; Greene, 2012, page. 811; Macrae, 2011).

The attractive appearance of vegetables has been long considered to be a significant part that makes (e.g., vegetables, for instance) appealing to people (e.g., Birren, 1963; Bonnell, 1966; Francis, 1995; Sant’Anna and Co. 2013, 2013; Shewfelt, 1990; Urbanyi, 1982; see also Watson (2013)). This is an important aspect, considering that certain food items (e.g., vegetables) alter their appearance after cooking (This 2009). The color of food and beverages and any variations in the range of colors used in food are viewed as attractive by people who consume it (e.g., Paakki et and. 2019). Indeed, we have internalized a crossmodal correlation between the intensity or saturation of the food or drink’s color and the intensity of flavor or taste (see the work of Piqueras-Fiszman et al., 2015 Spence 2015a for a discussion). According to an oft-made suggestion, consumers tend to like those food colors (hues) that are associated with sweet-tasting foods while disliking those that are associated with bitter-tasting foods (e.g., green vegetables; Lee et al., 2013) and rotting foods (Piqueras-Fiszman et al., 2014; though see Mugaritz’s blue bread dish

The natural food industry is known for its tendency to alter its appearance (i.e., the color) gradually throughout its life (so slowly, in reality, it is not even aware of the changes occurring when it occurs). Most processed or branded foods are explicitly designed to keep the same appearance throughout the life of the product in the store (see Hutchings, 1999; Masurovsky, 1939 and Walford, the 1980s). 2 That is to say, food and beverage businesses sometimes alter the colors that they sell. There are several reasons for this: Sometimes, it is done in order to address new legislation around the use of artificial food colors, as a result of changing consumer preferences/interests, or else simply as a means of trying to capture the consumers’ attention on the shelf. That said, the decision to change the color of an already commercially-successful product should be taken seriously (see Wollan, 2016). In the same way, it is evident that the growing interest of consumers in color-changing food products is demonstrated by the soaring popularity that is Yumchaa Blue Voodoo Magic color-changing tea (see Figure. 1.A. Blake 2017.) and the quick-to-market popularity in the case of Heinz blue Ketchup a few years prior (e.g., Farrell, 2000; Srakocic, 2003). In the past many beverages and food companies have attained (at the very least, short-term) sales success by temporarily launching their top-selling products in different and untested colors (e.g., See WSJ Staff, 2015). However, changing the color of one’s product does not guarantee it will be successful in the market. For example, Kraft’s blue macaroni and cheese, as well as Kellogg’s cereal which changed the milk in the bowl into a baby blue, color did not last very long after they were introduced in the same year as the miscolored Ketchup (see Wollan, 2016, on these product launches that failed).

The modernist chef (especially those who enjoy molecular cuisine; This, 2009.), as well as mixologists, have become more and more attuned to (changing) the color of the drinks and food that they prepare (either to surprise or entertain guests or to please people on Instagram people; Anon, 2018; Blumenthal, 2008; Elgart, 2018; look up Piqueras-Fiszman and Spence 2014. Spence et al. (2016) review). In a sense, the breakdown of ingredients and foods that are at the core of molecular cuisine and gastronomy (see Gopnik, 2011; Spence and Youssef (2018)) lets the chef who is creative to segregate the ingredients (e.g., the flavor from the base or color that typically accompany it) and to mix them up in a variety of innovative and potentially theatrical ways. There is the risk of this triggering an unfavorably-valued ‘disconfirmation of expectations response (e.g., Verastegui-Tena and al. 2019; Yeomans et al. (2008); Piqueras-Fiszman and Spence 2015b for a comprehensive review of research on the disavowal of expectations). However, if it is handled correctly by the best mixologist or chef (i.e., in the context of a planned experience) and playing around with the color of food or beverage can provide a pleasant element in the form of surprise(see Ludden et al. 2007 and 2008 Piqueras -Fiszman and Spence 2012, and Velasco and others. (2016) review). However, given that the public’s perception continues to be skeptical of (when not explicitly hostile to) the idea of using artificial food coloring (e.g., Anon, 1980; Chapman, 2011; Stevens and co. (2013); Weiss et al., 1980; Whitehill, 1980; and, for a historical context lookup Accum 1820; Tannahill 1973 and Wilson 2009.), three the mixologists tend to use natural colors and as we will see in the future, to eliminate the use of all color from their food offerings (see Spence and Piqueras-Fiszman, 2014; Velasco et al. (2016)).

Interestingly, various innovative chemical and technical methods of altering the appearance of drinks and food in real-time have emerged in recent times. This includes the development of bioluminescent foodstuffs (e.g., Anon, 2012a,b; Moon, 2014; Perez-Llorens, 2019) as well as the application of Augmented Reality (AR) as well as the use of virtual reality (VR) apps for foods (e.g., Spence et al., 2016; Ueda et. (2016); Ueda & co., 2014). Innovative methods of altering the appearance of food items are also being developed in the field of color science and vision, which allow (e.g., fruits) to shine without the need for any apparent changes in the lighting source (Harvey & Co., 2019). Such new approaches/technological solutions raise an important theoretical question about how people will respond to such sudden transformations in the appearance properties of what they consume. The setting where the color change is observed, and the cause of the change could ultimately be a significant factor in determining the ultimate acceptance by consumers (or otherwise) of these new rapid changes in how food items appear and drinks.

In this review, I summarize the various natural and artificial ways that foods change their appearance properties and assess the factors that may make this desirable/undesirable to consumers/diners/drinkers. Although slow changes in the appearance of food items are not likely to be noticed (i.e., they are not visible at the moment), sudden color changes are but one instance of a lively and, therefore, likely to draw attention element that is being introduced into the world of food and drinks. Since we generally think of food as constant and unchanging, the attraction to changing colors in food and drinks could be related to the current fascination with animated or animate-looking food items (see Spence, 2018d, for a discussion). However however, it is crucial to remember that dynamic foods could cause a negative impression on consumers in the first instance, as the idea of animate food items could raise fears of choking hazards as well; in the other case, since food items that change color can trigger the mind to think of fakeness and unnatural.

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