What the Color of Your Vegetable Ingredients Mean For Your Consumer’s Health
It’s no secret that vegetables aren’t exactly the most popular food group. Luckily, as more research comes to light regarding the long list of health benefits that come from consuming vegetables, it’s become much harder to ignore the necessary role they play in our diets. Fortunately, it’s also easier than ever for food and beverage brands to make strategic choices about what vegetable ingredients will make the biggest impact on their consumers.
There’s a growing body of information regarding the colors of vegetables and what they mean. Phytonutrients are the compounds found in plants that affect their color and are known to have many health benefits. Many preventative health and healing attributes have been linked to ingesting the phytonutrients in vegetables including: boosting of the immune system, fighting obesity, healthy digestion/bowel movements, and improved energy levels. As a food and beverage brand armed with this knowledge, you can now tackle your consumers’ most common health concerns, simply with the choices you make when it comes to your ingredients. Want to know how? Let’s dig into the colorful world of vegetables, shall we?
Red, blue, and purple vegetables
This color family includes vegetables like beets, radishes, tomatoes, and purple potatoes which are all high in antioxidants like anthocyanin and lycopene. These compounds have been found to potentially help fight heart disease and prostate cancer and decrease the risk for stroke and macular degeneration. Vegetables in this color family have long been revered as powerhouses and offer an even higher bioavailability for lycopene when cooked. Cardiac Health Foundation of Canada reports that anthocyanin consumption has been linked to keeping consumers heart healthy. If your brand promises a product that helps consumers stay focused and active, you may also be interested to know that all the vegetables in this group have been found to have properties which boost memory and limit the risk of urinary tract complications.
Yellow and orange vegetables
This color family includes vegetables like butternut squash, carrots, yellow peppers, pumpkins, and sweet corn. These vegetables have high levels of bioflavonoids, carotenoids, and vitamin C. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that boosts the immune system and aids in the fight against cardiovascular and heart disease. Carotenoids have been linked to increased eye health, male fertility, and cardiovascular health, while Bioflavonoids enhance the properties of vitamin C to better support blood circulation, as an antioxidant, and to treat allergies, viruses, or arthritis and other inflammatory conditions – great news if your brand leans more towards the health and wellness category.
This color family is the largest grouping, and a favorite amongst consumers. It includes kale, celery, spinach, peas, brussel sprouts, and zucchini. Long thought of as the classic vegetable color, this grouping has high levels of iron, magnesium, and lutein. Iron is important in aiding oxygen movement throughout the body and a lack of it can lead to lethargy and irritability. Magnesium is instrumental in energy production, helping to transport calcium and potassium ions across cell membranes, a process that is important to nerve impulse conduction, muscle contraction, and normal heart rhythm. Finally, lutein is considered the eye and skin vitamin which helps regenerate and protect both the eyes and skin. No matter what your product is, this is a great group of vegetables to work with and will likely appeal to the majority of your consumers.
White, tan, and brown vegetables
This color family includes vegetables like cauliflower, mushrooms, onions, and shallots and are high in selenium and allicin. Selenium plays a major role in our metabolisms, supports the immune system and is an antioxidant, while allicin has been linked to increased health for the heart as well as contributing to a lower chance of cancer. Allicin has also been found to have incredible anti-viral effects and can fight against a wide range of bacteria.
Taking the information above into account when deciding what vegetables to work with when creating a food and/or beverage product can have a huge impact. Being transparent with this information and being forthright with the reasoning behind your choices creates a level of respect between your business and your consumer. As the trend of eating healthy, and making informed food and lifestyle choices continues to grow, understanding the benefits of your product’s ingredients can only help to further build consumer confidence and accelerate the growth of your business.