Is Food Packaging Misleading You?
By Sara Butler
When you stroll down the aisle at your local supermarket, there's a lot to take in. If you're trying to shop healthy, then it can feel overwhelming since you have to do your research on food labels to ensure you understand exactly what you're buying.
The truth is that packaging food and selling it to you depends a lot on psychology. Food companies want to grab your attention. But if you're trying to be healthy, then understanding the tricks they use can help to make choices easier when it comes to the foods you buy. Here are a few strategies you need to know about.
Placement on the Shelf
A great place to put this theory of food marketing psychology to the test is in the breakfast cereal aisle. Look at the cereals that are placed at eye level to children -- it's usually the sugary, brightly colored cereals you'll see here.
The truth is that buying behaviors are often created when you're young, so even as you get older you may associate working and colors on certain products to feelings. If you're looking to make healthier choices, then the trick is to look up or go to the end of the aisle. There is where you will find the options that are better for you -- and that's true in almost every aisle, not just the breakfast cereal one.
How Words Are Used
Whether you realize it or not, you probably associate certain words with choices that align with how you feel about ethics, nutrition, and the environment. The wording on packages such as "non-GMO" or "no preservatives" are put on food packages so that you'll think they align with your philosophies right off the bat, but this isn't always the case.
Some foods may claim to be high in fiber or high in certain vitamins or minerals, but a closer look at the nutrition label may show you that these foods contain things you may not want, such as added sugars or trans fat. That's why it's always a good idea not simply to rely on how the foods are marketed but also to look a bit closer at what's actually in it so you can decide if it's the right choice for you.
Shopping for healthy food can be tricky, but if you know what to look for, then you should be in the clear!
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