This study introduces and defines a novel color family—au naturel colors—and proposes that featuring these hues on product packaging enhances consumer willingness to pay (WTP) for healthy food products, but not for unhealthy food products. This effect occurs irrespective of the fit between the colors of the product and of the packaging, and of the color lightness or saturation. Perceptions of product authenticity mediate the relationship between au naturel colors packaging and consumer WTP for the product. The results of seven studies provide support for the proposed conceptual framework, contributing to the literature on consumer responses to colors and packaging features, and allowing to draw implications for the marketing of healthy food products.
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