The video on the “anatomy of a supermarket purchase” offered valuable insight into unhealthy food marketing to both children and adults. While I was aware of some of the tactics, there were also some that surprised me. For instance, I knew that the placement of certain foods on particular shelves was associated with customer choices, but I did not realize how much food companies are paying grocery stores to place their products in certain places. In addition, I was unaware of how people’s food preferences have been changed over time based on changes in the marketing of foods with unhealthy ingredients and the marketing of unhealthy food pairings, like sandwiches and potato chips instead of sandwiches and pickles. Pickles contain no calories, so this simple change could have made a significant impact on the worldwide obesity epidemic.
Overall, this video impacted my outlook on marketing in supermarkets and other venues by increasing my awareness of the ways in which food producers and stores play on people’s unconscious mental processes to boost sales. It made me uncomfortable to know that the size of the grocery cart and the lack of windows in grocery stores are directly intended to increase consumer buying. At the same time, the video gave me ideas for how I might consciously make choices to improve the likelihood that I will make healthy buying decisions. For instance, I can schedule my grocery shopping for early in the day on the weekend, rather than in the evening after I have made a lot of choices.
When I am buying popular products like cereal, I may also consider looking at the low and high shelves to see if I might be able to find healthier options from companies that are not paying for prime shelf space within the grocery store. In the future, I would consider advocating for changes in government policy that could combat unhealthy marketing practices, like limiting the amount of money that companies can spend on marketing unhealthy products to children.