Last weekend, one of my favorite ice cream brands tweeted about a new color-driven line of ice cream. Jeni’s “COLORS Collection” includes 6 new flavors, each a different bold hue. The marketing campaign asks a provocative question: “When you see a color, what do you think it will taste like?”
Jeni’s question won my attention for a variety of reasons. There simply can’t be one answer to what any color tastes like. We may associate certain colors with the flavors they provide us most often, but colors don’t “taste” like anything. And in a world full of dyes and artificial ingredients, it’s hard to even know the true color of the things we eat. So I loved this idea of guessing the flavors, and then seeing how your expectations matched reality. Your guesses would come from your preconceptions of what foods are which colors, and which flavors you’re most accustomed to tasting. For example, if you based your guesses off of Skittles, the orange would be orange, yellow would be lemon, etc. But if you based your guesses off of produce, orange could become carrot and yellow could become squash.
I was really intrigued by this product line, and immediately started drafting a blog post about it. Then, to my great fortune, I happened to stumble upon a Jeni’s scoop shop the very next day! I took it upon myself to do some thorough “research” – for the sake of my dear readers, of course. I sampled several of the color flavors, and ordered a couple scoops to go, too.
The flavors were fantastic, as is expected from Jeni’s (they’re known for their top-notch quality and inventive flavors). However, I was a little bummed by how the color experience played out in the store. All of Jeni’s flavors are displayed with placards that list out their ingredients. This is a standard scoop shop practice, especially for inventive flavors. But given Jeni’s focus on expectations for each flavor, the placard layout didn’t really work. I didn’t really want to see the ingredients before I took a bite. While the sales guy was right that I couldn’t guess exactly how each flavor would taste before biting into it, knowing the ingredients did take some of the fun away from what I was calling The Color Game.