Why is fruit punch always red?

Commercially sold fruit punch is a deep bright red 99% of the time. Think Hawaiian Punch. Why? Is it just the way the colors of the ingredients mix together?

Consumer expectations.

ETA: I’m pretty sure that red color is added and not natural.

Why is Coca Cola brown?
Same reason, they make it that way.

Yes, but why do consumers expect it to be red? It’s got to come from somewhere.

Fortunately, poo and Coca Cola are brown because of different chemicals.

(I learned everything I need to know from Cecil)

Because whoever marketed the first successful fruit punch made it red. Either by accident or through consumer tests. Since then everybody else just copied them.

This reminded me of a Jay Leno joke upon hearing of Diet Hawaiian Punch - “What is it? Just straight Red Dye #5?”

What is the main “fruit” taste in the punch? Maybe it was mostly strawberry, rasberry, and apple, and people just associate red with those tastes?

Fair enough.

It isn’t. There are plenty of jokes in Utah about Green Punch, the preferred color for fruit punch out there, for some reason.
Hawaiian Punch has been red since at least the early 1960s, as has been one of the biggest brands, so it certainly has had a big influence on the field, but I see lots of non-red fruit punches on my supermarket shelves, especially ones that want to differentiate themselves from the herd.

A popular local punch recipe is called ‘Dishwater Punch’. It is primarily citrus in flavor, and frequently has a 1/2 gallon brick of lime sherbet floating in it for ‘effect’. It is a clear, frothy light green beverage.

But yes, around here, if you are at a wedding reception, and they aren’t serving Dishwater Punch, it most likely will be red.

Growing up as a kid in Michigan, particularly at summer camp, we called that green stuff “bug juice”

“Punch” was the red stuff

Lemonade was either yellow or pink.

Red might be the most common but it’s not the only color.

There are studies showing that food colored red is perceived as sweeter (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sweetness - scroll down to cognition).

I’m also guessing that at least some of the fruits which are in, say, traditional Hawaiian Punch (or which the artificial flavoring mimics) have red juices.


While the meat of the fruit of some them is red, I’m not sure that any of those have red juice.

The blood of their enemies?

“How about a nice Hawaiian Punch?”

I work in advertising; I used to have Hawaiian Punch as a client. We were doing focus groups with tweens (kids age 10-12) about Hawaiian Punch, and the moderator asked the kids to describe everything they could about Hawaiian Punch – the color, the taste, etc. One of the kids said (I swear, these were his actual, verbatim words):

“It’s the color and smell of human blood.”


“Juice” at McDonalds growing up was always orange. Don’t think it was brand name anything back then. I’m sure McDonalds sells a Coca-Cola juice brand nowadays.

Quoth Broomstick:

At summer camps in northeast Ohio, bug juice was any made-from-concentrate sugar drink, regardless of color (or flavor, but let’s face it, all of them are basically sugar-flavored). Which, of course, we never diluted as much as we were supposed to, if at all.

There’s also purple stuff out there. Tastes like purple.

“Now if they could just get the taste and texture right …”