Provo, Utah, and Delft, Netherlands—Vegetable purchases may be affected by the color of the background, according to a new study by industrial design professor Bryan Howell, from Brigham Young University, and a Dutch colleague from the Delft University of Technology, Hendrick Schifferstein.
In the study, 46 participants assessed mushrooms, bell peppers, carrots, tomatoes, and eggplants on various backgrounds: White, black, and several shades in between. This study follows one in which the researchers tested the veggies against colored backgrounds; that study found that cool, warm, orange- and blue-hued backgrounds were less than optimal.
The winner by a landslide? Black.
Yellow peppers were rated the most attractive and expensive across all white, grey, and black backgrounds, while carrots generally rated the least—but, when placed on a black background, carrots jumped eggplants and mushrooms.
In a press release, Howell said: “If the goal is to boost sales of fresh produce in retail stores, it makes sense that vendors present them in an attractive and appetizing manner. This is a bit of fun research that can help.”