3 Shocking Food Marketing Tricks You Should Know!
Oh, grocery shopping… don’t we all look forward to it with glee? Or not. ;) The average grocery shopper of today, is not the same as 20 years ago. Thank goodness today’s shoppers are far more knowledgeable of their food choices. This is a daunting reality for companies who are trying to market their not-so-healthy products to wary consumers. They’ve been forced to think creatively and bend the truth to appeal to their customer’s demands. Here are three shocking realities of marketing strategies used by companies to sell their products:
Food labels are often not accurate
Many people would be disappointed to know that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has literally nothing do with food labels. In fact, they rely on the manufacturer to test all their products and provide values for the food label. What’s even more concerning, is the FDA doesn’t regulate how the products are tested. Furthermore, it is only recommended that the food labels are submitted to the FDA for review. Consumers need to be aware the labels they are reading are not regulated by the FDA and the “facts” they are looking at are devised by the manufacturer of the product.
Food labels do not accurately represent serving size
Most health savvy shoppers give a quick glance at the food label, but few take the time to read the entire listing. Tell me this isn’t you (because I know this is how it goes with me in the grocery store)… the products gets flipped, calories and fat are noted and into the cart it goes. Unfortunately one thing few people take the time to notice is serving size and in fact, the calories and fat they read are for a much smaller portion than most consumer. In reality, if the manufacturer were to label the information for a serving size a normal person would eat, most people would never buy the product. A label looks great when there’s only 100 calories and 2g of fat, however a label with 500 calories and 10g of fat would send people running and ultimately, they would never purchase the product.
Not all sugar is the same
All food labels contain information regarding the amount of sugar in the product, but they do not distinguish between natural or added sugars. In fact, most people are unaware that the majority of the sugar is artificially added which leads to empty calories and possible weight gain. You should also be wary of products that claim “no sugar added”. Often an artificial sweetener is used containing synthetic products that some people say is not good for the human body. Of course, if that product is Splenda and what people tell me is true about it killing me from the inside I, for one, am screwed. ;)
It is not difficult to elude marketing gimmicks. A little extra time and information can make you an expert in purchasing food that is actually good for you. A few things to consider:
1) Be informed. Take the time to read articles and investigate rumors. A good place to start is the FDA or Department of Agriculture websites.
2) Don’t fall for flashy packaging. The package may look great but remind yourself you aren’t eating the package.
3) Shop the perimeter of the store. Most grocery stores are set up with perishable foods on the exterior and packaged/canned goods in the middle. Generally speaking, the more perishable the item, the healthier it is for you.
4) Don’t be cheap. Another lure of packaged food is that it is cheaper and usually comes with a coupon. Budget for more expensive, healthier foods. Investing in your health now means you won’t be as likely to pay for high priced healthcare and medications later on.
As always, be true to yourself and live life on your own terms, love much, laugh often, eat delicious, nutritious and filling food and look fabulous while doing it all! Love, Blair :)