When it comes to doing your weekly food shop, you either make a list or know exactly what food and essentials you need to buy to keep your family going. It should be easy to just nip in, grab everything and go, right? But more often than not, we come back from the supermarket with more produce than we needed, and we have to wonder why. Well, here are five sneaky things supermarkets do to make you buy more than you wanted to.
The relaxing music
Have you ever been to a supermarket and heard wistful, relaxing and calming music? This is a ploy used by supermarket chains, and we have to admit, it’s pretty effective. The aim of the easy-listening tunes is that this kind of music has a relaxed tempo that is slower than your heartbeat. This encourages shoppers to maintain their relaxed state by lingering in the shop – and therefore buying more. One way to combat this is to listen to your own music as you do your weekly shop. Shove in your headphones, pop on some fast-paced songs, and you’ll be in and out of the supermarket in no time.
There’s nothing better than free samples, because who can turn down free food? But even though these samples are free, they come with a price. Most supermarkets offer their customers free samples to get them to buy the product in question. A study at Cornell University found that there was a distinct correlation between those buying the product, after tasting the free sample. Yet, if you’re hungry, turning down free food just doesn’t seem logical. So the moral of the story is to never go to the supermarket when you’re hungry. Always eat before, so you’re less tempted to try the free samples, and spend more money.
When you walk around the supermarket, there are hundreds of open refrigerators which allow you to reach out and grab your food. However, many supermarkets often use this as a technique to increase impulse purchases – because if you like the look of something, and it’s within reaching distance, you’re more likely to grab it. This ease stimulates the brain and often causes it to overlook practicality. If you have impulsively dropped an impulse purchase in your trolley, move into a different aisle (one that doesn’t have these refrigerators) and really think about your need for it. Science shows that it takes 20 minutes for your brain to calm down and realize what the priority is.
As you enter the supermarket, you are often greeted with the blissful aromas of freshly baked bread, cookies, or cakes. Just like any other delicious smell, our salivary glands can’t take it, and immediately want to eat the food that is producing it. Supermarkets are smart. They play on this. These smells make it harder for their customers to resist the temptation to buy these yummy goods – and you end up walking away with the whole bakery. To combat this, suck on a mint as you walk through the aisles, as this will satiate hunger, and cover up the smell.
The phrase ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’ rarely comes into play when you’re choosing your food at the supermarket. You want the nicest, most colorful and most fresh-looking produce in the store. But sometimes, the fruit and veg you pick in the store looks different when you get home. This is because the supermarkets use creative lighting to enhance their produce. They often use bright white lights to show their fruits and vegetables in a just-picked light, and red-tinged lights make their meat look even fresher. Always make sure you pick up the produce and examine it out of the cabinets or fridge, to see them in different a light.