Center for Advanced Management




Prof. Dipayan Biswas (University of South Florida)


Datum: 12. Dezember 2019

Zeit: 13.00 - 14.30 Uhr

Ort: Geschwister-Scholl-Platz 1 (HGB), A120

Titel: Effects of Ambient Color on Children’s and Adults’ Choices for Unhealthy Foods: Behavioral and Physiological Evidence from the Field and the Lab


Ambient color is an integral part of any food service setting, including retail stores, restaurants, and cafeterias. A series of field and lab studies consistently demonstrates that having red (vs. blue or vs. white) color in the ambience enhances children’s and adults’ choices for unhealthy foods. The focus on children’s food purchase behavior, in several of our studies, is important since childhood obesity often leads to serious lifelong medical problems. The results of four field experiments, conducted at cafeterias of elementary, middle, and high schools, show that a prominent presence of red (vs. non-red) color in the ambience enhances likelihood of purchasing unhealthy items. A series of lab studies replicates these effects with adult participants, provides process evidence, and identifies relevant boundary conditions. The results show that red ambient color enhances arousal and excitement, which in turn increases preference for unhealthy foods. Given the ubiquity of color in any setting, these findings have strong conceptual and practical implications. From a practical perspective, the findings suggest that while fast-food restaurants selling unhealthy foods can benefit from red in the ambience, school cafeterias, restaurants, andsupermarkets wanting to encourage more healthful purchases, might consider avoiding red color in the ambience.