When it comes to candy, we all have our favorites. I’m more of a gummy/sugar freak and love, love, love anything from gummy bears to Airheads. Of course, like many, I have my favorite flavor and my least favorite flavors (I don’t trust you if you like clear gummy bears). I’m sure I’m not the only one who loves Blue Airheads or red gummy bears and who will sift through an entire bag of candy just to get “my color.” But, it turns out, color isn’t necessarily correlated with flavor after all. In fact, candy companies know we psychologically determine our favorite “flavor” based on color/scent and use this to their advantage.
According to Don Katz, a Brandeis University neuropsychologist who specializes in taste, many people associate smell/color with flavor. He did an experiment with college students with fruit-flavored drinks in which students matched up smell/color with taste: yellow to lemon, orange to orange, purple to grape. But, when he changed the color with food coloring, essentially making them the “wrong color,” the students were a bit confused and their ability to name flavors completely changed.