New research has suggested that food manufacturers may need to think carefully about the colours they use when it comes to designing new packaging for their products.
Doctoral student at the University of Missouri Jessica Ridgway carried out a study on how the hues used in a company's logo can have an impact on how people view that brand and its offerings.
She recruited 184 adults and asked them to view generic logos that she had created for fake brands using different colours.
The participants were then required to say how they felt towards the pretend companies in terms of specific emotions.
Using the data, Ridgway could then identify key characteristics that each logo invoked.
It was found that blue made people think of confidence, success and reliability, while green perhaps inevitably conjured up an assumption of environmental friendliness, durability and sustainability.
Purple logos were assumed to be feminine and glamorous and pink packaging was perceived as youthful, fashionable and imaginative.
Yellow was said to be fun, while red logos were associated with feelings of expertise and self-assurance.
Writing in the International Journal of Fashion Design, Technology and Education, Ridgway said she was particularly surprised by the discovery about red, as the hue is commonly associated with aggression and romance.
"Red logos did not invoke those emotions in study participants. This can probably be attributed to the fact that red is used in logos of many well-established brands," she commented.
The researcher suggested the news could have implications for brand managers who assume they can rely on traditional colour associations alone, remarking: "They must stay attuned to how colours are viewed and applied in popular culture such as in entertainment, as this tends to influence consumers' colour associations."
However, food manufacturers may be forgiven for putting packaging design on the backburner for the time being while they confirm that the materials they use are not harmful.
The Food Packaging Forum Foundation and US and Spanish researchers recently discovered that more than 4,000 substances with unknown effects are currently used to produce food packaging, some of which could pose serious health concerns.