The effect of wrapper color on candy flavor expectations and perceptions

Debra Zellner, Nancy Greene, Monica Jimenez, Arturo Calderon, Yaritza Diaz, Mimi Sheraton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


The color of a product's metallic paper wrapper influences the expectations concerning the flavor of the product. These color-induced expectations are consistent with flavors associated with those colors (e.g., cherry-red) but vary somewhat with the product to be wrapped (e.g., a candy or beverage). Beverages wrapped in green were expected to have a lemon/lime flavor while candies wrapped in the same color were expected to have a mint flavor. Although flavor expectations were affected by the wrapper color there was no effect of the color of the wrapper on the identification of the flavor of a plain white spun sugar candy wrapped in the paper wrapper. The color of the wrapper also did not affect how much subjects liked the flavor of the candy or the rated intensity of the flavor or sweetness. There was also no difference among the colored wrappers in how appropriate they were judged to be for the candy. All colors were seen as, at best, “somewhat” appropriate. Subjects were more likely to report a candy as having a flavor consistent with the color of the candy than with the color of the paper it was wrapped in. This suggests that people's judgments and evaluations of a food stimulus is most strongly influenced by those aspects of the stimulus they perceive as being an integral part of the food (i.e., the color of the food rather than the color of the packaging).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)98-104
Number of pages7
JournalFood Quality and Preference
StatePublished - Sep 2018


  • Appropriateness
  • Color
  • Expectations
  • Flavor identification
  • Multi-modal interaction
  • Priming
  • Sensory integration


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