If you were to ask someone what the most popular fast food chain in the world is, chances are that they would answer with ‘McDonalds’. In an article by Mumbrella, they argued that the colour scheme used by McDonald’s might play a big role in it, using the mustard and ketchup (tomato sauce to Aussies) theory as a possible explanation.
Generally, people make a decision within 90 seconds of being engaged with a brand, and within this time, 60-92% of this assessment is based on colour alone.
This discovery forces us to dive into colour psychology, which states that these hues are determinant of people’s behaviour.
We are all conditioned to yellow and red, with the former inspiring optimism and latter gets you to stop and look. Because red also stimulates excitement, we are not to blame when we drive past a Maccas.
But there’s another reason why yellow and red works so well within food marketing, which can be dubbed: the mustard and ketchup theory.
But why mustard and ketchup?
The theory can be traced back to the mustard and ketchup we so generously put on our burgers and hotdogs. The combination of yellow and red is not only visually appealing, but it also gives our taste buds a flavour to remember through sight. Customer’s senses are evoked through not only smell, but also sight.
We know, it sounds odd, but science has shown that colour plays an important part with the way we absorb and taste the flavour profiles in the things we eat.
A small example is when we have two dishes that taste exactly the same, but where one looks grey and the other colourful. To which dish would you be drawn?
By understanding the power of colour psychology, and knowing how to implement this in your fast food chain, you could be entering a very successful venture.
Make sure to use white plates instead of red though, as other colour psychology research has shown that people will eat less from red plates. It’s still unclear whether the colour red is making them stop (associated with warning signs) or if the red underneath the food is considered more delicious.
Have you applied the Mustard and Ketchup theory within your branding? Comment your findings below