Apr 5 2023

Why are so many ‘eco’ products branded with the colour green?

Written by Orderly Marketing
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When we tell people Orderly helps businesses make more sustainable choices that are positive for the environment, we often get asked why our brand is yellow, not green!

That’s a fair point – our brand is based on trust, speed and quality, and we didn’t want to be clichè by choosing green.

But when did green become synonymous with eco?

Many ideas are swirling around on the internet. Here are some good ones.

1. The Green Peace Legacy

As the OG planet saver, there’s a theory that Green Peace has done the legwork in making green an environmental shade like Coca-Cola has made Santa red. Then again, when asked how the name came around, founding member Bob Metcalfe said ‘”We call (it) the Greenpeace because that’s the best name we can think of to join the two great issues of our times, the survival of our environment and the peace of the world […].

2. It’s the colour of plants

Well, obviously! But why does that matter when it comes to a brand shade? Enter the psychology of colour.

Like it or hate it, this theory suggests that each colour brings across a feeling. Green ‘can represent new beginnings and growth. It also signifies renewal and abundance.’

While it has been said that as far back as the ancient Greek philosophers, many theorists have devised colour associations and linked particular connotative meanings to specific colours, the only problem is that these are specific to cultures, content, and circumstance changes.

That lucky red in china becomes dangerous when shown as a sign on a UK A-road. And so on.

That being said, green is one of the more reliable ‘agreed upon’ meanings because of its links to biology. As we all know, green is the colour of chlorophyll in plants, which is essential for photosynthesis, giving a little more clout to the idea that green symbolises life and growth.

3. The word itself

The word “green” comes from the ancient proto-indo-European word ghre, meaning “grow”, in Middle English and Old English from grene, which, like the German word grün, has the same root as the words grass and grow. In Latin it is viridis, meaning young, energetic. Fun fact, it’s also now a popular girl’s name!

All of these probably help indicate why green is such an eco-friendly colour.

But what happens if you defy the colour theory and

change your ‘eco-friendly’ signage to red, orange, yellow or polka-dot pink? Would people still understand your eco-friendly credentials?

Colour guides our perception of the world

In a study conducted by Dichter (1964), subjects were given four cups containing the same coffee in four different colour boxes (brown, red, blue and yellow). The subjects were asked to rank how the coffee tasted. According to the results: 73% of the testers judged the coffee placed in front of the brown box too strong, 84% judged the red richer, 79% judged the blue softer, and 87% judged the yellow lighter.

The groundwork for green = eco is already deeply embedded

As early as 1974, a study by Percy indicated that ‘color is often used as an indicator of a product’s category and facilitates consumer identification such as green for organic products.”

A study also suggested that colour plays an important role in consumer perceptual space – with the examples that “a bluish package of coffee will present a central color index, because the diagnosis of the category is “decaffeinated”.

In short, while you could buck the trend and make your organic range pink and yellow, you will miss that all-important’ glance factor’ and you won’t be able to convey your credentials as fast as your competitors – and this effects your sales.

In a study into FMCG products, Singh and Singh (2014) carried out a study. They found that packaging had significantly more impact on buying decisions of lower-income consumers than high-income consumers. A secondary study by Basha (2016) showed that social, personal and psychological factors all affect a consumer’s decision-making process when selecting a brand. This happens in seconds.

In short, for many of us, being seen as being able to make an eco-conscious choice matters to us, subliminally or not – and as such, being able to identify your product in a glance as in line with a goal or ethos does matter.

Whether we love or hate it (or prefer yellow and black!), green is simply the colour of renewal, eco, organic and recyclables and far many other topics in the space of eco awareness.

So let’s embrace the green and do our best to make our services as eco-friendly as possible so it’s more than just a packaging colour but a movement.

Start by reducing waste in your business and making the right decisions. Unsure where’re to begin?

Start by getting a demo of Orderly

Orderly has provided business-critical supply chain technology for over a decade to various enterprises.

As a result, Orderly’s solutions influence responsibility in enterprise supply chains – generating long-term sustainability and economic value.

We are more than just a food and beverage technology company. We are a powerful advocate for social and environmental responsibility.

Connect with us today!