- "Living Coral" was recently named Pantone's Color of the Year for 2019. The vibrant pinkish-orange hue could influence the color of foods and beverages hitting the marketplace next year, according to Food Ingredients First.
- The New Jersey-based color and design firm called the shade an "animating and life-affirming coral hue with a golden undertone that energizes and enlivens with a softer edge." The company said coral is a "nurturing color that appears in our natural surroundings and at the same time, displays a lively presence within social media."
- Pantone has been choosing an annual top color since 2000, a practice which has influenced color choices in production and purchasing across a variety of industries. In 2018, Pantone's chosen color was "Ultra Violet," and the previous year it was "Greenery."
Colors have a major role to play when it comes to food, and they're considered just as important as flavor to today's consumers. Different shades can tease anticipated flavors. Research has found 90% of shoppers make up their minds about buying a product from its color and perceived taste. If the color is appealing, they're more likely to buy it.
For that reason, many in the food industry have been tracking Pantone's color trends and watching for potential applications. Thomas Krahl, head of technical service for Sensient Colors Europe, told Food Ingredients First that "Living Coral" could be adapted for use in beverages, confectionery, dairy, decoration, bakery and savory.
While the shade might make sense for certain beverages and some sweet treats — including sparkling water, wine, ice cream, frosting and candy — it may not be all that adaptable to other foods. It's harder to imagine frozen entrees, pasta or breads sporting a pinkish-orange color unless they have pumpkin, yam or sweet potato among their ingredients.
But trendy colors for food and drink are growing in popularity, thanks to social photo sharing. Even if it isn't adopted across the board next year by the food and beverage industry, coral will likely make a colorful splash on social media sites such as Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter next year. This past spring, Food & Wine curated "The 40 Food Instagram Accounts You Should Be Following Right Now," and they all sport colorful and appealing (and hunger-inducing) photo spreads. According to an Innova Market Insights Trends Survey this year, 55% of Chinese consumers, 43% of U.S. consumers and 24% of UK consumers aged 26 to 35 share online pictures of their food at least weekly.
Manufacturers face challenges in adapting color trends to their food and beverage products because it often requires reformulating recipes with fewer chemical additives. Products also need to taste the same with the color change, and maintain the same texture, mouthfeel and shelf life.
Despite such challenges, Pantone's recent colors of the year had some interesting food and beverage applications. "Ultra Violet," the company's choice for 2018, showed up in the form of cocktails and even purple onion rings, donuts, smoothies, soup and wine. "Greenery," Pantone's shade for 2017, appeared in cakes, cookies, pasta dishes, salad, candy and pizza. "Living Coral" could have similar success as manufacturers' creative juices get flowing.