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Light Gray is King in the U.K.

Recent research by Electrix International shows packaging trends for a variety of categories, including ice cream and yogurt.

If you’re looking to sell ice cream across the pond, you’d best go with packaging that is light gray, complemented by light blue or dark blue. At least those are the most popular colors there, according to analysis of nearly 2,500 grocery products by Electrix International (https://www.electrixinternational.com/us/), a major supplier of electrical enclosures and cable systems based in the United Kingdom.
I’ve not seen similar research lately in the United States, but color psychology is key in influencing sales success — pulling in shoppers or driving them off. At any rate, the Electrix research is very complete and very interesting, at least to nerds like me.
So if you’re still with me, read on whilst I quote from the company’s press release…
“Across 10 categories, which include cookies, chocolate, soda drinks, and ice cream, the most-used color for packaging is light gray. In fact, 20.6% of all products analyzed are packaged and marketed to consumers using this color.
“The theme for less vibrant colors follows suit in second and third place, with black (11%) and dark red (8%) joining light gray in the top picks for packaging. You’re less likely to see light purple (one item), blue (three items) and lime (three items) on everyday items.
Category crunching
“On closer inspection, the use of light gray tends to be complemented by dark blue and light blue for cookies and ice creams. Meanwhile, red and dark red appears mostly on coffee, cereal, and potato chips.
“Using data from Walmart’s online grocery service, the name, brand, and image of up to 355 different products in ten food and beverage categories was collated, totaling 2,422 products across the range. An algorithm then analyzed colored pixels to calculate the top colors in each product image. The following list shows a full overview of the products analyzed and the colors used to stand out on shelves:
“Candy (234 Products) – gold, orange
Canned Food (354 Products) – light gray, dark blue
Cereal (188 Products) – light gray, dark red
Chocolate (27 products) – ivory, dark gold
Coffee (355 products) – light gray, red
Cookies (330 products) – light gray, dark blue
Ice Creams (321 products) – light gray, light blue
Potato Chips (269 products) – light gray, dark red
Soda (37 products) – dark gold, green
Tea (307 products) – dark gold, black
“Just 22% of products tended to have only one color on their packaging with cereal being the most consistent category. Ice cream is most likely to have more than one color on its packaging, with dairy lovers treated to more variation on the front of their tubs and cartons.
The breakdown of product types and the amount of colors used for each is detailed below, with canned food, coffee, and ice cream very similar in terms of results.”
Electrix also took a look at the yogurt category, and found that light gray and ivory tied for the lead as the dominant package color, each with 23%. Black came in third, with 10%. The items studied were mostly desserts, with lots of chocolate.
If you’d like to see the original Excel file data on ice cream and/or yogurt, or even other category data, send an email to me at [email protected] or to [email protected], who was kind enough to send it to me.

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