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Food Marketing Tricks Exposed: Dirty Secrets That Are Making You Fatter

Updated: Oct 13, 2023



Food Marketing Tricks Exposed: Dirty Secrets That Are Making You Fatter


The world of food marketing is a complex and often deceptive one. From larger packets with higher prices to dubious health claims, the food industry has mastered the art of enticing consumers into making choices that may not be in their best interest.


In this article, we'll unveil some of the astonishing food marketing tricks that have been playing with our appetites for years. So, are you ready? Food Marketing Tricks Exposed: Dirty Secrets That Are Making You Fatter



Super-Sizing without a Warning


When there's an abundance of a crop, food producers tend to make the packaging bigger and raise the price without informing the consumer. This sneaky practice is often used to unload surplus stock, and it's where the "super size" trend in America originated. In the United States, for example, the surplus of calories per person led to this deceptive strategy, funnelling extra calories right into their bellies without their knowledge.


Surplus' aside, food companies realised they could make tonnes more money by simply increasing the size of things and charging more. They don't care whether your jeans fit...sorry Karen. They're making more money.


Ever bought a 'family sized' bar of chocolate? Or a 'sharing' bag of chips? And proceeded to eat the whole thing? Clever eh... You probably spent double, if not more and still consumed it as one portion. Even if you shared it with your partner, the bar or bag that is often 4 x the size of a single serve bag, is unlikely to help your waistline!


Why?

  1. Profit Maximisation: One of the primary reasons for increasing portion sizes is to boost profits. Larger portions often come with higher prices, and consumers tend to perceive larger portions as a better value for their money.

  2. Consumer Demand: Many consumers equate larger portions with better value, feeling that they are getting more for their money. In response to this demand, food companies may increase portion sizes to cater to their customers.

  3. Competitive Advantage: In a competitive market, offering larger portion sizes can help a food company stand out from the competition. Customers might choose a product simply because it offers more food for the same price.

  4. Upselling and Cross-Selling: Larger portion sizes provide opportunities for upselling and cross-selling. For example, fast-food restaurants often encourage customers to "upsize" their meals for a small additional fee, increasing the overall sale - this is a huge part of a number of business models.

  5. Perceived Quality: In some cases, larger portions can create the perception of higher quality. People often associate larger servings with abundance and generosity, which can make a product more appealing.

  6. Consumer Psychology: Food companies often study consumer behaviour and psychology to determine the most effective marketing and pricing strategies. They may increase portion sizes based on research that indicates people are more likely to buy larger portions,

Creepy eh? And this is just one aspect!


Deceptive Health Messaging


Food packages claiming to "lower your cholesterol" or being "packed full of fibre" might not be as healthy as they seem. Some of these products can have hidden downsides. The same goes for items boasting "20% of your daily protein" when the actual protein requirements are quite low. And when you see a label announcing "25% less sugar," it's important to ask, "25% less than what?" Often, it's less than their previous high-sugar versions, creating a misleading impression of health.


These are generally processed grain products - made mainly of wheat or grain, with various forms of added sugar. Eggs are better for your cholesterol levels - literally. And fruit and vegetables have all the fibre you should naturally need.


These messages prey on the fact that you don't know what real fibre is. That you don't really know how much protein you need... and that you are clueless to the extent that grains and sugar spike your blood sugar.




Just Because It's Keto... A 'Keto' Brownie Is Still A Brownie.


Keto has become a trendy diet, and marketers have hopped on the bandwagon. Products labeled as "Keto" might not always align with the principles of the ketogenic diet. Keto desserts, for instance, can be literal fat bombs, delicious but best enjoyed in tiny portions. While some Keto breads and crackers are relatively safe, it's important to scrutinise the ingredient list carefully to ensure they match your dietary goals.


You know what is keto? Salmon... and fatty cuts of steak. Or not eating until your body starts to burn it's own body fat. A fat laden dessert - be int a keto brownie, cookie, health food bar or any of the above - is still a dessert. Just because the label says keto, doesn't mean it's free!


Plant- Based or Vegan Doesn't Equal Healthy


The "Vegan" label is often associated with health, but it's not always the case. Many vegan products may be highly processed and loaded with unhealthy ingredients. Remember, table sugar is vegan, as are a host of other less-than-ideal substances for your health. Simply having a green "V" on the label doesn't guarantee a product is a healthy choice.


There are some shockers out there... plant-based chocolate with a green label. Many of the women who embark on my programme are choicing 'dairy free' yoghurt with less than 10% of the protein of natural Greek Yoghurt... because they thought 'plant-based' was better. If you really want to drink some sugar and carbs to spike your blood sugar, give some vegan oat milk a go!


How To Tackle Food Marketing Messages


Stop listening...


A general rule of thumb: foods with a substantial marketing budget might not be the healthiest options. While marketing is essential for creating brand awareness, it's often used to mask the shortcomings of a product. Instead, consider opting for foods that have been part of human diets for centuries and still thrive without marketing gimmicks.


These natural and nutritious choices are often the best for your overall health. Ever noticed salmon and asparagus don't have shouty packaging?




Food marketing is an intricate world, filled with tricks and ploys designed to influence our choices. Being aware of these strategies empowers you to make informed decisions about what you put on your plate.


Next time you shop for groceries, take a closer look at the labels and claims. Remember that the best foods often don't need flashy marketing; their quality speaks for itself. Your health and well-being are worth the extra effort it takes to decipher the truth behind the packaging.



Amy's Fitness & Nutrition at the kitchen bench - Food Marketing Tricks Exposed: Dirty Secrets That Are Making You Fatter






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