According to the CDC, over 35% of US adults are currently obese and an additional 33% are overweight. We know that obesity can be a serious concern, as it increases the risk of many other diseases like heart disease and cancer.
The researchers who published this perspective piece suggest that “…placement influences our food choices in a way that is largely automatic and out of our conscious control and that subsequently affects our risk of diet-related chronic diseases.”
They present some interesting facts about those products on the end caps and aisles at the supermarket:
- Food merchandisers will often pay more to have items positioned in these spots
- About 30% of all supermarket purchases come from items in these spots
- Sales of these items may increase up to 5 times more when they are located in these spots
- Choices to purchase unhealthy food items located in these spots are often made more quickly than choices to purchase healthier items
The authors conclude by stating “With strong empirical research, it should be possible to identify which marketing strategies place people at risk or undermine their health, as well as to quantify the magnitude of risk. This kind of knowledge should be applied in informing regulations that could govern the design and placement of foods in retail outlets to protect consumers.”
What do you think about this? Do you think that impulse marketing plays a large role in unhealthy purchases? Have you ever succumb to the temptation of a candy bar at checkout?
I certainly have.
While I know there would probably be uproar about regulations like this if they were ever put into place – the “food police” argument – I do think it would make people less likely to grab those unhealthy items on a whim.
Share your thoughts with us below!