Iridescence: A Rainbow of Colors, Causes, and Concerns

Richard A. Mancini, Ph.D.



Meat purchasing decisions are influenced by product appearance more than any other quality factor because consumers interpret color as an indicator of product wholesomeness. Iridescence is a physical phenomenon resulting in a rainbow-like appearance that can be misinterpreted by consumers as product unwholesomeness. Of the spectrum of colors produced by surface iridescence, green, red, and orange are most common. Iridescence is difficult to quantify as its intensity is significantly affected by sample, lighting, and observation angle. This creates a major obstacle to researchers interested in measuring or determining factors affecting iridescence. Download this fact sheet to learn more about the mechanisms of Iridescence and that factors that affect it.