We don’t often think about food as a marketing tool like farmers business 4broofbloomberg, but it has been used as one for centuries. Even if you were raised in a home with healthy eating habits, the odds are good that your parents were careful to balance their own meals with some treats from the market. For many years, food marketing was not regulated by any governing body and an unregulated market expanded to include almost every major facet of our lives; from advertising on websites and billboards to commercials during sporting events. However, this is changing — slowly.
1. Food marketing influences what we eat.
Although we are all very aware of advertising for fast food and junk food, there are countless other ways that food is marketed to us every day. In fact, it’s estimated that over 30 billion dollars a year is spent marketing directly to food shoppers in supermarkets. This is why many people think they need to eat more fiber, more calcium or more protein. And the companies know this — especially when it comes to children.
Even though we all know that companies pay for advertisements on television and radio, many have started to realize that the internet has become a major part of this marketing cycle. Thanks to the popularity of Facebook and Twitter, companies are able to advertise directly to the people they are trying to reach. But this can be a double-edged sword.
2. The idea that we each need a certain amount of food is being challenged
The marketing cycle works because it reinforces an idea — just as Coke used advertising to help launch products such as soda, air conditioners and other household items as well as Cracker Jacks and baseball cards; so have food manufacturers been successful in convincing us that we need specific types of foods.
This is especially true with our emotions. Companies are able to manipulate us with certain types of food because they know how to exploit our fears, worries and desires. For example, sugary candy bars are marketed as a snack that will calm your nerves and help you fall asleep at night. Marketers know that if they can get us to fall in love with their products, we will be more likely to buy their products for ourselves and for family members.
3. Food marketing has become an issue in nearly every aspect of our lives
Although we don’t hear about it often in the news, companies are constantly trying to influence us when it comes to the food we eat. What’s more, this is becoming a real problem as companies that sell food often also own other industries. For example, it would be very difficult for companies to sell cigarettes if they ran ads promoting a low-fat diet. This means that they must diversify by selling products not only through the soda fountain and in the grocery store, but also in supermarkets and toy stores.
4. Why the government is paying attention to food marketing
We have become so accustomed to thinking about food as a marketing tool that it has become normal; however, that doesn’t mean that this is healthy for us or our children. In fact, the government has recently taken notice of how much marketing affects our children. Although food ads were banned from television back in 1996, the American Psychological Association recently released the results of a study that found that many families continue to be affected by advertising. This is why they are encouraging Congress to take action against this problem.
5. How marketers fool us
Although we all know that companies are trying to sway us into buying their products, it can be hard for us to spot their moves (unless we look for them). For example, here’s a quote from a post on Saving Dinner about some sneaky marketing tricks:
When I was in high school, my public health teacher taught me about something called subliminal advertising . . . A subliminal message is one that is below our conscious awareness, the kind we only become aware of when we’re looking for them. This can be challenging because there are some messages that are really hard to avoid – you will never see an advertisement on a billboard, but they will often -so- subtly manipulate you into buying the product.
Subliminal advertising includes anything from words and images projected in low-resolution (spaced close together), or as blinks of light at the speed of 3-4 blinks per second (seen after a second), to subtle sound waves commonly used in movie theater soundtracks—used to trick your mind into thinking about the movie or shop product by association.
From health ads to snack foods, food marketing is an issue that affects us all. We may not always see an advertisement in the grocery store, but we are being manipulated every time we shop. Moreover, children are particularly susceptible to these ads. This is why the government is encouraging Congress to act against these companies by regulating food marketing. Of course, it won’t be easy as companies are constantly finding new ways to reach consumers. However, as long as we remain alert and aware of the marketing techniques being used around us every day, we can exercise our own choices about what we eat and support policies that help protect our health and well-being for generations of Americans to come.