Although colour blind people do develop strategies to help them cope, shopping for fruit and vegetables can be a real problem. Colour blind people often have to learn that ripe apples are often darker than unripe apples and that generally ripe fruit feels softer than unripe fruit and smells different.
In 1989 Steward and Cole in their scientific paper What Do Colour Vision Defectives Say About Everyday Tasks found that one third of colour blind people experience problems with foodstuffs in both buying and preparation, particularly those with a red-green deficiency because they ‘see’ very little difference between most colours.
‘A good number of both protans and deutans remarked that they were unable to rely on the observation of colour change to decide when meat was cooked but used alternative strategies such as observing texture, cutting the meat, and relying on cooking time. Almost equal numbers of protans and deutans reported difficulty determining the ripeness of fruit and vegetables by judgment of colour. Bananas, apples, and tomatoes were cited as causing the most confusion and subjects reported using touch and smell to decide on ripeness.’