The Food Institute Blog

The Food Institute Blog

What's in a Logo? A Lot, Apparently
Posted on December 10, 2015 by Jennette Zitelli

We know that color plays an important role in food. Color is one of the first things we notice when we pick up a piece of produce or see our meal placed in front of us on the table. There are also studies showing that color can impact the way we perceive taste, in a pretty major way, both it in the food itself and in the packaging. Companies have even been trying to make the coloring of their products more natural, while also keeping them just as vibrant, illustrating the importance of appearance and color.

But what about the color of a company's logo? Does that have an influence on consumer decisions?

According to a study from University of Oregon and University of Cincinnati, it does. It may not impact how food tastes, but it definitely shapes the way customers perceive a company. The researchers found that logo color can influence whether consumers think a brand is eco-friendly or ethical. Green and blue are the colors most associated with environmental friendliness, while red is not. Blue was actually seen as the most eco-friendly, even though the word green is usually used to describe environmental practices.

The researchers gave participants fake logos that use the same colors as popular retailers. The logos that used Walmart blue or Whole Foods green were rated as more environmentally conscious than those using Trader Joe's red. They also found that if a company was ethically ambiguous, green and blue could make them seem more ethical.

Acknowledging the importance of their logos, many companies switched up their branding in 2015, changing their logo color, font, and/or imagery. Most brands made their logos simpler, such as IHOP, which removed its blue background color and created a smiley face with the "O" and the "P" in its name. Emerald Nuts and OpenTable both switched their logo coloring from a maroon to a brighter red hue and simplified them to include fewer components. Cicis also changed its branding to create a cleaner, simpler logo and removed the word pizza from its name, adding the modifier "Beyond Pizza."

One of the most notable branding changes was from Mr. Coffee, which did a total overhaul of its logo and colors. It switched to a more youthful script font and incorporated a purple background. This is one of the most interesting changes, in terms of color, because it switched out its mostly black and brown branding in favor of purple, cream and white.

Interestingly enough, most of these brands have a mainly red logo (with the exception of IHOP and Mr. Coffee) and only two brands include blue or green at all. It seems blue and green may be the most ethical colors, but maybe red is the tastiest.

Posted in Marketing   Retail   Foodservice  


About the Author

Jennette Rowan
Product Manager
The Food Institute

Jennette writes and edits the Food Institute’s annual publications, such as Food Business Mergers & Acquisitions, The Food Industry Review and The Almanac of the Canning, Freezing, Preserving Industries.  She also handles marketing and promotions for books, seminars and the monthly webinar series. Additionally, she writes for the daily news update, Today in Food, and periodically contributes to the weekly Food Institute Report. She has a background in non-profit and environmental marketing, programming and writing, and joined the Food Institute in 2013 with a degree in Communication Studies from Rowan University.


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