The Real Meaning Behind The Colored Circles On Food Packages

If you haven't taken a closer look at the packaging of all kinds of foods at the grocery store lately, then you are missing out on an abundance of information that they list for consumers. But some of the symbols and signs you'll see on packaging could be a little puzzling, and one of those ambiguous symbols is the colorful array of dots you'll find at the bottom of many boxes and bags. Though their use might seem kind of superfluous to many consumers, those dots are actually there to ensure quality control for the packaging itself.

According to Allrecipes, these dots are typically known as "printer's color blocks" or "process control patches." What these colorful circles ultimately are is a swatch test. As you likely know, many brands have bags that are recognizable by the color and tones that they use for their packaging. But if the colors were off, that might raise red flags in the minds of grocery store shoppers or even worse — cause them to miss the products altogether. That's why these circles that allow the colors to be double-checked are so important.

This is why the colors could change during printing

If you don't quite understand why an industrial packaging center could print colors that are not exactly true to the brand, you're not alone. But it all comes down to the basic colors of ink the printers have and are able to use. According to Taste of Home, many printers only use the basic core colors of cyan, yellow, magenta, and black. Select printers might also have additional colors such as violet, orange, and green, but not all printers do.

These printers then have to mix the available colors they have to match the brands' signature colors. By printing these colorful circles on the backs or bottoms of packages, those working on the packaging can check the colors to those that are correct and printed off on boxes in packaging facilities everywhere. So, the next time you look at those circles of color, know they are there to ensure your package has just the right shades and hues.