As the saying goes, "You are what you eat." Do
you know what you're eating?
I was recently a motivational speaker for the Food & Beverage Summit. Here I learned some fascinating things the food and beverage industry do to influence the way we eat and drink.
Below are just some of the ways food companies do to manipulate our diet and drink habits.
Playing certain types of music in a restaurant can change how and what we eat. For instance, classical music makes people feel like it's a rich and sophisticated experience thus they eat slower and are willing to pay more.
Playing faster music like rock and roll makes you eat faster and treasure the experience less. Thus, you are not willing to pay as much.
Bright lights and color also make us consume food faster. Thus you find many fast food restaurants are colors like red and yellow with loud fluorescent lighting.
Food Texture and Additives
Products like Red Bull are the more extreme example of creating addicted followers. The level of caffeine in the beverage is astronomical compared to a glass of milk. However, food companies are doing this in even more subtle ways to get people to buy their products. Why is it that a burger at a restaurant tastes so much better than one I cook at home? Obviously, the chef is a better cook, but even more so, he can add a bunch of (potentially unhealthy but tasty) ingredients that I would never add.
Recently I bought rice crisps that had a label suggesting it is gluten free. Although it wasn't my reason for purchasing them, it did make me think this was a positive thing. A guest speaker at the Food & Beverage Summit brought up the point that Rice has never had gluten in it- it is naturally gluten free.
The truth is - it is very hard to know where the food you eat is from and how it was grown, altered or modified. From what I understood from the guest speaker at the Food Summit, food manufacturers are required to tell us what is in the food, but most of those labels are small and hard to understand.
Many food companies sneak fat into foods that they market as healthy, and in the end, they are more tolerable to eat. It is possible to promote half-truths and manipulate statistics, and this is what ultimately gets people to buy.
You may have noticed that McDonald has super-sized everything. Offering more variety in sizing is meant to think you are getting more value psychologically.
Consumers today are a lot wiser than they used to be. Today, we crave to know more about the food we eat and many food producers are responding to that. The guest speaker was optimistic that in the future consumers will demand to know more about the food they eat. Many food companies will meet this need. However, we will be more for their ethics.
I enjoyed being one of the funny motivational speakers for the Food & Beverage Summit where we we found some good comedy in the food industry.