What do Safeway, Walgreens, and Costco have in common? The obvious answer is that they are all large operated American supermarkets. But do you think it’s any coincidence that these three grocery stores – along with others like Winn-Dixie, Wawa, Giant, and Supervalu – all use red in their logo?
A color psychologist would tell you that this is no surprise: red is the color that makes people hungry. Red instantly attracts attention and it also makes people excited, energetic, and increases the heart rate.
In the fast-food industry, look no further than McDonalds, Wendy’s, or Burger King as prime examples of this. These massive companies all have a large amount of red in their branding as well, which subconsciously lets customers know that the chain is high-energy, bustling, and most importantly fast.
Red seems to have color dominance with regards to actual food products, as well. If red foods such as tomatoes, strawberries, and apples aren’t a natural part of the product, often times red packaging is used instead, such as with Coke, Skittles, and Campbell’s Soup. Mmm… maybe you’re hungry now?
A Natural Exception
One notable exception to the red grocery store craze can be found in the new wave of healthy, natural grocery stores popping up, led by Whole Foods. Whole Foods keeps its insignia green. Their decision to use green as the dominant color in their branding helps to promote the fresh, organic selling point they want to be associated with, as green signifies nature.
But even then, stores are finding ways to combine the freshness of green with the energy and impulses associated with red. MOM’s is a great example of a company walking a tightrope with it’s branding, tying in elements of the traditional red with a more earthy green.
So when it comes to food, food branding, and packaging, companies have learned that red is king. Think about that the next time you’re walking into your local supermarket or waiting in line at the drive-thru.