The saying “taste the rainbow” seems to have taken on new meaning over the past year. We are witnesses to this trend of brightly hued food that is flooding our daily feeds with photo after photo of synesthesia-inspired delicacies. These creations vary from sweet to savory, appetizer to dessert—made by both consumers and brands. The popularity of full spectrum color doesn’t stop at food, either; it transverses all areas of pop culture, including fashion and décor.
Millennials may wax nostalgic over rainbow foods from their childhood, such as breakfast cereals and candies. This effect is often achieved through the use of what some would now say are “questionable ingredients,” things like artificial food coloring and other chemically sounding additives. While these are necessary to achieve the rich colors we’re used to, there is debate over the long-term safety of consuming high levels of food coloring. This shift in consumer perception inspired DIY versions of these foods, with more natural ingredients to achieve the same effect.
New York City is a go-to for all things edible, and Brooklyn’s neon bagel creations have customers waiting in lines for hours. In Las Vegas, coffee lovers are flooding into one shop for rainbow lattes, thanks to viral posts on Instagram. Alternatively, food bloggers are using a cornucopia of fruits and vegetables to construct everything from pizza to breakfast bowls.
The color parade isn’t limited to food. Multicolored designs can be seen internationally from couture catwalks to hair salons. The rainbow flag and its association with pride in the LGBT community inspired designers to release special edition collections, representing and supporting unity for this year’s pride week. Popular 90s sticker guru Lisa Frank also made a comeback with her new athleisure line, and adult coloring books covered in her signature neon animal and rainbow motifs.
Brightly colored food and fashion has been a consistent theme for the year 2016. We’ve seen visible representations in almost all retail fields, from the edible to the wearable. While these colors may fade over time, one theme will remain: flamboyant detail catches the consumer’s eye. Even if it doesn’t represent everyone’s taste, we can’t help but look and want to take a bite—or, at the very least, a photo.