Advertising plays an important role in influencing the buying behavior of consumers. Consumers want to get the best for the money they are spending and advertising serves the purpose.
Advertisements inform, persuade, and remind consumers of a particular product. They play a role to satisfy them and indulge consumers into buying.
Many companies’ even food and beverage companies aim to reach and target a wide range of people at all age levels. This includes kids, teenagers, young and old.
For this, many food companies invest heavily in advertising to reach through various sources and platforms to targeted consumers.
According to the American Heart Association’s Fact Sheet in 2016, $13.5 billion was spent on media advertising by more than 20,300 restaurants, food, and beverage companies.
Sources of food advertisements:
Different food advertisements are found on TV, restaurants, newspapers and magazines, mobile devices, radio, grocery stores, billboards, and other social media platforms.
And, as people are greatly connected with these, they get to know what’s happening around the world and what and what not is being offered in the market. They can easily choose different products and can even compare prices and quality within the same category.
As they are more informed, they are less likely to make the wrong choices for themselves, even in the case of food where health and hygiene come first.
To market food, what are the common strategies used?
Some common marketing techniques used in food advertisement include:
Eye-catching and bright photography and colors.
Gifts or exclusive prices
Discount or sale prices
Cartoon characters or celebrities as spokespeople
Memorable songs and jingles, slogans or catchy lines and phrases
Health claims (like “For strong bones, buy xxx”,” stay warm this winter” etc.)
The convincing tone used to inform and create awareness
Advertisements greatly affect buying behavior and food choices, especially for young children and adolescents.
An estimated 4000 advertisements are seen every year by children which greatly affects their buying behavior. They have young and adapting minds which get captivated easily by advertisements and force and motivate them to buy or they ask their parents to do so.
A recent study took place by Dr. Christopher Ferguson involved in Applied Sciences, Behavioral and Criminal justice to find the healthy eating habits among children aged 3 to 5. 75 children were invited to choose healthy and unhealthy food options after watching an advertisement.
The children were divided into two groups and were made to watch the cartoon films one after the other with a commercial in between.
In one group, the children saw the advertisement for apple slices with dipping sauce while the other group saw the commercial for French fries.
After they had watched, each child was given a coupon to choose either French fries or apple slices with dipping sauce.
Whatever commercial they watched, they all choose French Fries.
The children were with their parents. Half of the parents were asked to encourage their children to buy a healthy option while the other half was supposed to stay neutral.
Parents somehow influenced their child’s choice of food, but the children were influenced by the commercials they saw.
Also, parents need to be consistent to encourage their children to healthier options.
Researchers came to a point that advertising, both positively and negatively affect the eating habits and buying patterns of people choosing food items.
Ways to become an informed consumer:
Spend time together as a whole family and learn more about food through cooking, reading, grocery shopping, etc.
Limit your screen time to avoid unhealthy options.
Watching television programs without advertisements by buying or renting DVDs, recording shows in advance, and others.
Be aware and informed. Next time, when you see any food advertisement, even if it’s catchy or attractive, try figuring out whether it’s a healthy option for you or not.
Food companies work in different possible ways to sell their product in the market and convince people to buy their products.
They spend a lot of time and money in improving the quality of food they are selling and offering to their actual and potential consumers, work on the packaging of the product to retain its freshness, safety, attraction, etc. And, one more way is to spend on advertising.
So as consumers, you should try and be open to advertisements offering healthy food options and limit food advertisement exposure offering unhealthy options.
You need to be honest with yourself and think before approaching to buy any food item because healthy behavior starts with you.
Good health is one of the key factors leading to success and happiness. And, falling into wrong, faulty, unhealthy, and unmeaning full, claims and food options will lead you towards many illnesses. So be wise, and opt for the best.