The Reason Pink And Red Candies Are Irresistible, According To Science

From M&M's to Skittles, some of the most popular candies come in a variety of colors. For a number of these, like Starburst, for example, each color correlates to a different flavor. For the most part, however, they all taste the same regardless of color. If you could've sworn that red M&Ms taste better than all other colors, or that the pink Hershey's kisses that come out during Valentine's Day are far more irresistible than the regular kind, the truth is you're imagining things. But it's not without reason. 

According to Reader's Digest, decades of research prove that color directly influences taste – no matter what the color of the food you're eating. While green is generally thought of as sour, red and pink are associated with sweetness, whether you realize it or not. University of Oxford psychologist Charles Spence tells Slate that this is a reflection of how nature works. Just as green apples are typically tart, and red apples tend to taste sweeter, any candy that has red in it is perceived as being around 10% sweeter.

Candy companies use shades of red to their advantage

Brightly colored candy isn't just fun to eat, it also makes for more sales. Even chocolate brands like Kit Kat and Twix incorporate red into their logo, which is by no accident, Slate says. Unilever, the manufacturer of Popsicle, explains that their decision to release a line of all red popsicles was carefully planned based on a combination of scientific data and consumer feedback that indicated that red was the most popular color popsicle. As expected, the release of the Red Classics box was met with great success.

Considering how powerful a color red is, you might assume that companies would just want to make all their candies different shades of red. But Slate says keeping consumers interested is just as important as making a product appetizing, a concept called color-specific satiety. Consumers are more likely to eat more of the product when given an assortment of colors. Even if you like red M&M's the best, chances are you'd still rather eat a pack of all the colors over one with just the red ones.