How Chocolate Wrappers Are Secretly Influencing You

Do you ever buy products just because you like the way they look? Or maybe you believe food will taste a certain way or have a certain quality based on how it's presented on the shelf, on the menu, or in commercials. Either way, we're here to tell you — you're not alone!

Several studies have been conducted over the years to examine the many ways in which colors can have an impact on our emotions, trigger memories, and affect our moods. In the world of marketing, this means color psychology, which apparently plays a major role in branding. In fact, DesignBold estimates that around 90 percent of first impressions of a brand or product are determined solely on color.

For certain food and beverage products, the color of packages, wrappers, labels, and — in cases like M&M's — products themselves, helps guide consumers' flavor expectations (via Food Republic). Science Focus further adds to this notion, insisting that our perceptions of scent and taste are heavily influenced by the hue as well as the intensity of what we consume. 

How does this theory apply to chocolate wrappers?

A study published in the International Journal of Gastronomy and Food Science examines how the packaging color of chocolate products influences people's preferences and anticipations of the sweet's flavor and texture. During the research, participants in both Brazil and France were observed to see how the color of chocolate wrappers affected their expectations of each chocolate's sweetness, bitterness, fruitiness, and other flavor elements. The two subject groups tasted samples of milk and dark chocolate that were packaged in black, blue, brown, green, red, pink, and yellow wrappers.

As it turns out, subjects expected the chocolates to taste the least sweet and most bitter when they were wrapped in the black packaging but expected much sweeter, less bitter chocolate from the yellow and pink wrappers. Despite the expectations, the milk chocolate from the black packaging was voted the best tasting. One of the study's conclusions was that color may have inverse effects on expected liking, depending on the type of chocolate.

So, next time you're craving chocolate and find yourself in the candy aisle, keep in mind that what you see in front of you is a purposefully designed strategy — not like that's going to stop you.