The Surprising Reason Why You Always Go for the Red and Pink Candies

It dates back to our foraging ancestors.

Very Cherry has been the top jelly bean flavor for the manufacturer Jelly Belly since way back when. Duh, you say. But have you ever wondered why? What is it about red candies that makes them universally alluring? (So much so that manufacturers have begun to release all-pink and red versions. Charles Spence, a psychology professor at the University of Oxford who studies how our brain processes taste, says it may go back to our foraging ancestors: “Fruits turn from unripe, green shades to red hues when they sweeten.” And still today we make this red-equals-sweeter connection. In fact, studies show that just coloring a food red makes it “taste” about 10 percent sweeter. According to Jelly Belly, who sells 5 billion of the candies around Easter, other pink and red flavors like Cotton Candy, Tutti-Frutti and Sizzling Cinnamon also crack the top 10 list.

Jelly Belly says it’s crucial that the coloring of their beans perfectly reflects the bean’s flavor. “We want our candy to resemble the real life version of the flavor. That’s why Very Cherry is a beautiful red, like the cherry on a sundae, Juicy Pear has speckles and a white center, and Watermelon is green on the outside and red on the inside,” says Lisa Rowland Brasher, Jelly Belly president and CEO.

Curious how to properly store your Easter Bunny bounty? Jelly beans should last about 18 months if stored in an airtight container away from direct sunlight.