Most consumers take just 4 seconds to browse over food packaging before making a choice.
That’s the window of opportunity a manufacturer has to convince you to buy their product. Here’s how they do it:
- Put something wholesome and natural on the front
Fresh fruit, lush meadows, and green trees.
The Reality. That’s just a pretty picture – it might have nothing to do with what’s in the packet.
- Buzzword of the month
At the moment it seems to be “whole grain” and “omega-3” and “fortified”. Any savvy marketer will make sure they list these buzzwords in bold: front and center.
The Reality: The actual content of the whole grain may be minimal – and can you really believe that the possible health benefits of the latest buzzword will outweigh the other junk in the food?
- Big wrappers
Looks like value for money yeah?
The Reality: How many times have you ripped open a food wrapper only to find you’ve paid for about 1/3 air. Maybe manufacturers need to start listing the amount of “air” on the nutritional label.
- Keep changing the product design
More colors, more funky-stylee designs – whatever it takes to make you think that the same old food has suddenly become altogether different.
The Reality: Same food, different box.
- Ticks and bullet point lists
Free from artificial flavors “TICK!” Free from preservatives “TICK!” Baked not Fried “TICK!”.
The Reality: Who cares. The 3 main ingredients in this particular item (a cracker) are refined white flour, vegetable fat, and sugar (what is is about those three ingredients?)
- Bite-sized. Mini-sized. Snack-sized
Many popular food items also have a mini-me version. Surely that’s got to be good for the waistline?
The Reality: You probably end up eating twice or three times as much of the mini-versions – because – hey – they’re so small! and easy to eat!
- It’s organic
It’s great to choose organic food over the non-organic counterpart – but organic candy? Or what about organic baked beans – complete with added sugar and 456mg of sodium.
The Reality: 3,500 calories of organic food is still 3,500 calories.