Ever heard the old adage: ‘Looks can be deceiving?’ Well, it never applied more to our lives as American consumers until now. Many grocery stores have transformed their shelves and setups into a maze of strategic marketing ploys designed to get you to purchase certain products – and not the healthier ones! Many people have no clue that the sneaky strategies employed by the food industry are set so that consumers are more likely to select the unhealthy products.
We did some research to discover some of these marketing techniques hidden from the general public. The more you know about how big food corporations try to reel you and your loved ones into their tangled web of unhealthy edibles, the easier it will be for you to avoid falling for the food industry’s clever tricks. You may already know about the toll that processed foods can have on your health as you get older. Now, learn how the food industry tries to ensure that most people will select these items. Take back your choices and educate yourself on the food folly that feeds the American public.
We all make trips to the supermarket to stock up on edible items to eat for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. Sometimes, we enter with one item in mind and come out with a whole cart full of foods. Other times, we may notice that the standard size for a favorite food item has gotten bigger, and we still end up consuming it within the same amount of time. Supermarkets employ tons of simplistic tricks to tamper with the consumer’s frame of mind when shopping. Learn the ins and outs of how these tactics affect millions of American shoppers.
Terms and phrases like ‘buying in bulk’ and ‘buy one get one,’ or the growing size of the average shopping cart often contribute to consumers spending more money on more items. People often buy in bulk because they believe that they are getting a cheaper deal by purchasing a bag of onions versus selecting each onion individually. They may also make purchases on nifty deals, with phrases worded to convince them that they are saving money. Meantime, grocery carts get bigger and bigger, playing a role in the nineteen percent increase in items purchased on average. Items like chips, cookies, and candies often fall under these sales ideas, drawing more people to purchase them.
Another size-related trick lies within upping the general size or quantity of any given product. For instance, if you typically buy a pack of snack cakes that generally consists of only eight cakes, and the market suddenly offers ten per container, you are more likely to consume the ten cakes within the same amount of time as when there were only eight. You are also more likely to continue purchasing this higher quantity continuously, even if the eight packs come back on the shelves. The food industry uses this trick on items like sodas, snack cakes, and microwavable meals to entice you into purchasing more than needed.
Supermarkets know that many people do not pay attention to their surroundings, and often place items strategically as a means of getting a consumer to spend more. Many of the more expensive items are placed at eye-level, with the cheaper ones higher and lower. If you do not look around the whole shelf, you will probably end up purchasing the more expensive version as it is easier to see. Also, on your way to check out, many stores ensure that the shelves lining the checkout aisles are so claustrophobically close to you, that you are less likely to avoid them and make another last-minute purchase. This puts you closer to candy bars, sodas, and other sugary snacks that are easy to grab right when you are ready to check out.
Perhaps the most disturbing marketing ploy used by supermarkets lies within making the more unhealthy, processed foods appeal to your kids. Sodas, colored candies, snack cakes, and other brightly colored, often sweet treats use commercials and other forms of advertisements using kids as actors or models, and tag lines that appeal to parental sensibilities, despite their unhealthy affects on developing bodies. Keep a look out for some of the snide tactics of marketing used to hook you and your children.
Many companies that produce candies and other sweetened snacks will employ cartoon characters as mascots or representatives to draw in the younger crowd of children and spark interest. These characters may interact with the children on the commercials, while participating in eating the advertised product themselves. If this really whacky bunny eats it, it must be good, right? Not to mention that often, commercials using these characters ‘transport’ the cast into an alternate universe created with the first bite of the product. This targets young children in their imaginations, tickling the fancies of becoming superheroes or having extraordinary abilities.
Believe it or not, many of the marketing strategies will work to reel you in as a parent as well! Think about advertisements for foods such as boxed macaroni and cheese, travel-friendly lunch packs, and other unhealthy products often disguised as nutritious. The ads are set to pull the wool over your eyes. Tag lines stating that an item is ‘mom-approved,’ or for ‘choosy moms’ often try to relay the message that if a parent is a good parent, then he or she will purchase the item for their kids. This is how the whole family plays into fight against obesity and the declining health of this generation.
Many companies also use product placement as a means of grabbing the attention of your kids and teenagers. It goes much further than your average commercial. Many movies and television shows contain characters or plot lines that use props. These props often exist in real life, and your child may notice it. In an attempt to be like the character, the child will want to use it. Whether it is a specific soda that the cool hero would drink, or magical snack bar that the team captain ate before he played the rivals, chances are your kid can spot these products, and will want to jump on the bandwagon of consuming them as well. Product placements are a sneaky way for the food industry to weave its way into your child’s brain.
The enticing and clever tricks used by food-production companies can often slip around under the surface, easily left unnoticed by the inattentive eye or the untrained brain. It may seem like too much for you to take in, especially when many of us already have plenty of stuff to tackle in our busy lives already. We have a plan that you can follow to help to steer clear of the marketing madhouse that captivates and tricks so many every day.
Always make sure you have a grocery list to follow. A grocery list is like your game plan – how you can tackle the aisles and get what you want without getting sidetracked by other brightly colored products. Look each shelf over from top to bottom to ensure that you are getting the best deal. Remember, expensive products are kept at eye level. So, the first item you lay eyes on will most likely not provide you with the most sufficient deal.
Listen to your mp3 player while you shop. Many grocery stores play slower music to lull other consumers into taking their time and potentially staying longer. If you listen to a fast-paced tune while you weave in and out of the aisles and crowds, you will move more quickly. This will naturally keep you from lolligagging and letting your eyes slip from the prize of purchasing only the items you need.
Stick to the outer edges of the grocery store, as this is where most of the fresher foods are most often located. Items like fresh produce, diary, and meats are often located along the edges of the grocery store. Processed and packaged foods generally stay on the shelves in the center. The more food you purchase from the edges, the healthier you are eating. And remember, try to purchase non-GMO or organic if possible. This will ensure top quality in health later on down the road.
Contrary to popular belief, eating the healthier foods is not more expensive than consuming the processed foods. Many people will try to tell you that its cheaper to stay way from the fresh produce and organic products. We beg to differ. Individuals who (like myself) try to stick with the fresher options available at grocery stores regularly will find that the pricing is generally the same either way. Besides, even if the fresh options tend toward more expensive at your location, would rather pay with money now or with your health later on down the road?
We want to introduce you to better knowledge to fill your brain for when you fulfill that next grocery list. Check out our other blogs touching on trending health topics that could turn your lifestyle around! We will help you know what to watch out for, and what is safe to go with. Plus, if you want to revamp your skin-care routine into an all-natural daily spa that treats your skin organically, you can contact us about our organically healing products. We look forward to hearing from you soon!
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