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The Colour Psychology Of Coffee packaging

Is package colour the ultimate consumer persuader? We know that packaging is the most tangible representation of a product, but what is it about packaging that persuades consumers to purchase?

Colour is extremely influential in terms of packaging and getting a product noticed. The design, style and colour of packaging all come together to represent the brand. But for consumers to gravitate towards a product on a retail shelf, it’s all about colour first.

Worldwide coffee packaging suppliers such as The Bag Broker, have over a decade of experience supplying custom printed packaging solutions. They agree that bold graphics, an unusual design and a distinctive brand identity are key factors in ensuring a particular branding message hits the mark, but also that a signature colour can make all the difference when it comes to consumer bite.

Consider the big players in coffee. The green in Starbuck’s product identity is just as familiar to consumers as the logo itself. Taylors of Harrogate use colour to distinguish the different types of coffee beans across their range of coffee products, as do Café Direct. The identity of the illy coffee brand is synonymous with the colour red, just as Starbuck’s is to green.

Colour psychology not only attracts new customers to try a product, but also works in cementing the brand. Starbucks, illy, and many other coffee producers are all living proof that when a company owns a brand colour it works.

What different colours mean to consumers

There’s little doubt that colour has a powerful psychological influence on consumers. That’s why packaging colours need careful thought. Package colour also needs to be chosen to fit into the product’s relevant retail context. Certain categories exist within a wide range of food products.

  • Natural and organic products often sell best in unbleached paperboard, and where colour is used it tends to be in green or rich earth tones.
  • Black, gold and silver often feature alone or in combination for luxury brands.
  • Simple, clean products with few ingredients are commonly packaged in white.
  • Bright colours in combination with black tend to evoke sophisticated and edgy brands.

The colours that influence food sales

The colours used in packaging have a powerful role to play in provoking an emotional connection to taste. Coffee sellers can take advantage of package colours to engage consumers with an emotional memory of enjoying a great cup of coffee. Certain colours work better in food packaging than others. While colour won’t do the trick on its own (it also needs to be associated with a strong brand image), research suggests that as many as 84.7 per cent of consumers claim the colour of packaging is the primary draw.

Red and yellow

Red and yellow are often used in food packaging. These two colours are renowned in the food industry as the colours that most stimulate appetite. Fast food giants, McDonalds, didn’t choose their brand colours randomly. Coffee producers won’t want to associate with a fast food connotation, but these colours can still be used effectively on their own or as a pairing in coffee packaging.


Orange is another appetising colour (it is after all a blend of red and yellow). For coffee packaging, orange can be used to good effect to make a product stand out from the crowd. The colour orange is vibrant, playful and plays on impulse.


Green definitely has connotations for eco-friendliness and is generally associated with healthy food choices. Green is a good solid colour especially suited to coffee varieties with organically grown coffee beans and fair trade ethics at the heart of the brand.

Blue and purple

Blue and purple are cool tones, and have to be used carefully in food packaging as they aren’t particularly appetising colours. Blue foods aren’t common in the wild (except for blueberries), and studies show that the colour blue is an appetite suppressant. Purple has more mileage in coffee packaging, but still needs to be used with care. Purple does evoke an air of decadence, which can work well with dark rich roasts.


White is a difficult colour to use for coffee packaging. It can appear stark, plain and sterile. It can work though as a clean background and make a colourful brand image pop.


Black is an elegant colour signifying a high-end product. It’s sophisticated, edgy and can work well combined with other colours in coffee packaging. Although, brown tends to be favoured more over black as a packaging colour amongst coffee producers.


Browns and earth tones are perfect for coffee packaging. Brown is a warm, wholesome and appetising colour that reflects the colour of the coffee inside the packet. Generally, brown is seen as earthy, rustic and strong. In that sense, the colour brown has a natural affinity with coffee taste characteristics, and perfectly represents rich, deep and complex flavours.

Colours in coffee packaging should denote flavour

Colour can be cleverly used to denote flavour, and a lot of coffee packaging does this really well. Many coffee brands also use colour coding to depict a different variety of coffee bean, strength or particular flavour combination.

Customers who pick up a product are more likely to purchase it, so making customers want to touch your product is paramount. Colour can definitely help to do that. We are hardwired to respond to colour, so the colour of your coffee packaging matters more than you think it does. Coffee flavour should play an important part in the selection of packaging colours. You want your potential customers to drink coffee with their eyes.

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