The junk food industry has stealthy marketing tactics all worked out. Ever wondered why you always see people enjoying something bad, even just days after making healthy New Years Resolutions, or hours after slogging at the gym? According to clinical psychologists, it’s all in the labeling and marketing tricks employed by the junk food industry. Check out these industry tricks – do you fall for them?
The junk food industry knows that most people don’t understand much about the world of nutrition. In fact, they bank on most people only really knowing what they learnt at school. I mean, we can all understand calories, and most people know what they should be roughly avoid. You can be forgiven for thinking that something advertised as 0% trans fat would be a healthy alternative, right? Only if you don’t know that it’s packed with calories and salt which will cause you to pile on the pounds anyway. Whatever the latest nutrition buzzwords that we’re all aware of, you can guarantee that the junk food industry is using them.
Remember being asked if you want to go supersize? McDonalds might have stopped that, but there are still promotional campaigns all over fast food. From buy one get one free deals to coupons for amazingly cheap meals and irresistible special offers, junk food is made too good to pass up.
Do you know what gluten free really means? If you’ve got an intolerance to gluten, then you probably look for the phrase as a matter of course. More and more people are jumping on the bandwagon as a health choice, though, believing that gluten free items will be healthier and help them to lose weight. That’s not true. Gluten free simply means that the product was made with white sugar or white rice, rather than wheat. It’s not necessarily any healthier.
Ever noticed that the bakery seems to be cooking never ending cakes and bread? There’s always the gorgeous scent of cinnamon buns or fresh bread wafting around when you walk past…and that’s deliberate. That smell improves your mood, and makes your mouth water. Even if you avoid the bakery itself, you’ll be feeling hungrier, and therefore likely to spend more.
It’s nothing new for shops to have lines of candy bars and sugary drinks by the tills, but have you ever wondered why they do it? It’s not so that you can grab something that you’ve forgotten – if it was, they’d place helpful and common items there, like bread. It’s because when you’re stuck in line, bored and hungry, they will catch your eye. It’s a sneaky way to use that last little bit of willpower, and entice a purchase.It's called impulse buying.
Even if you’re actually looking for the nutritional information, you might be duped. Portion sizes on packages are often totally bizarre. Ice cream, for example, is often counted as half-cups. Who has half a cup of ice cream? While you’ll glance at the calories and see that they aren’t too bad, once you’ve worked out how much you actually eat in a reasonable portion, it doesn’t look half as good. And it gets even worse if you serve yourself more than you should. Keeping portions big and nutritional information confusing means we all think that we’re doing better than we really are.
7 The Halo Effect
A study from Cornell University found that the fast food industry uses something called the Halo Effect to convince us to buy. They pick something that’s usually healthy, such as yoghurt, and add in extra goodies. That makes it more tempting for us, but the halo effect leaves us thinking that it’s not that bad – yoghurt covered in chocolate buttons is still healthy yoghurt, right?! It even works on typically unhealthy products such as cake. Advertise it as organic, and we just can’t consider it unhealthy.
We’re used to marketing experts paying close attention to our psychology, and it seems that the fast food industry is no different. It’ll use whatever tactics necessary to keep us buying and eating food, even if we think that we’re doing well. Being aware of these tricks should help you to see through them, though! Do you know any tricks that the fast food industry use to make more sales? I’d love to hear your ideas.