Is more colour really needed?


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During a ‘Do you remember when?’ session with old cohorts at Kildonan Place, we got into a discussion of odd practices of the past, prompting me to ask if anyone remembered back when oranges were stamped: “colour added”.

Boris doubted that ever occurred and asked, “why would they do that?”

And Wayne explained it was because they were an unappealing shade of green.

“Not so,” Steve replied. “I’ve seen oranges on trees in Florida and they’re the same colour we see in the stores.”

Fortunately, Doug, our expert on science, recalled an essay on oranges in which the author explained “if shipped when orange they would be overripe by the time they get into our stores. “Therefore, when they were semi-ripe and green, they were dyed, stamped, and shipped.”

Today, Doug added, they’re no longer dyed and stamped but go through a chemical process turning them the appealing colour we favour.

Which makes me wonder why we let colour influence us as much as we do. Why can’t producers ship green oranges which will turn orange as they ripen? Can’t we accept things coloured the way Mother Nature delivers them to us?

At a recent funeral for an old friend, I arrived late and had to sit at the very back. Looking at the backs of the heads of many, um, mature women, it appeared that many had coloured their hair, most of which weren’t as attractive to me as those left in a natural state.

When I worked in an industry that supplied packaging to retail stores. much of our training was on understanding how colour affects buying habits. Most shoppers prefer brightly coloured fruit, vegetables, and meat. Often fruit, vegetables, and meat are marked down in price when their colours begin to fade. In our training, we watched movies of shoppers bypassing meat, vegetables, and fruit that had lost their brightness — opting to select the brightest vegetables and the reddest cuts of meat, which was a mistake. Older and drabber-coloured meats are often a better buy, are tastier and more tender. Have we forgotten that aging improves meat and game?

Ron Buffie

Ron Buffie
Transcona community correspondent

Ron Buffie is a community correspondent for Transcona.

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