The Behind-The-Scenes Marketing Tricks That Make Food Irresistible (Hint: You Can’t See It!)

There’s a somewhat insidious form of marketing that you may not be aware of that’s being used everyday in restaurants, hotels and retail stores. It’s not something obvious that you’ll see on their signs or advertising. They are using a powerful technique to quietly lure you in without overtly selling you anything – and the food industry is taking full advantage of this tactic. They are pulling out all the stops to tempt us with irresistible smells that are hard to resist. Whether you’re at the mall, the airport, your office break room, or walking at an amusement park…You are being manipulated by this very subtle technique…

Slide1

We are being inundated with fake chemical scents designed to get us to buy!

The Hard Rock Café Hotel in Orlando pumps out artificial scents of sugar cookies and waffle cones that act as “aroma billboards” to draw people to their ice cream shop in the basement (increasing sales by 45%). The marketing company ScentAndrea attached chocolate artificially-scented strips to some vending machines in California, tripling Hershey’s sales. The Hershey’s store in Times Square uses artificial scent machines that blow the scent of chocolate into their store. Disney reportedly applies an artificial “grilled scent” to their frozen burgers to make them smell fresh, along with strategically placed scent machines in the bushes that disperse scents of cotton candy, popcorn, or caramel apples. According to the Scent Marketing Institute, when the smell of fresh baked bread was pumped into a grocery store, sales in the bakery department tripled. A grocery chain in New York (Net Cost) admittedly places scent machines that release scents of chocolate and baking bread to make customers hungry, and sales jumped.

Even subtle changes in operations can trick our noses and make a big impact on increasing food sales. For instance, Panera Bread recently moved its baking time to daytime hours so that customers smell the bread all day long and their New Haven, Connecticut location has a small “show oven” without a hood, so the smells vent into the restaurant. This is the same reason that Subway places their bread ovens up front in their restaurants, so that smell hits you when you walk in the door. Starbucks has an “aroma task force” to make sure their stores smell like coffee and not the cheese from their breakfast items.

Using scents to sell more products isn’t a new tactic by a long shot and is taken straight out of Monsanto’s playbook, as demonstrated by this vintage 1947 Monsanto ad: 

Monsanto Smell 1 

“The principle of chemical attraction also defines the path to hidden sales…Used for years to contribute sales appeal to foods, candies, perfumes and cosmetics… Yes – Smells Sell!  If you wish to know more about this proved sales strategy in your business, a contact with Monsanto may reward you with the right chemical answers”. 

Continue Reading →

My Favorite Top Moments of 2014

Happy New Year!!! It’s officially 2015 and I can’t imagine not recapping this past year. It was full of excitement, surprising turns and lots of hard work. A big thank you goes out to my team and you, the Food Babe Army, that made all this possible! Here are my favorite top moments of 2014…

Favorite Investigations

FB_FastFoodUKvsUSA_3

Favorite Speaking Event

I spoke at many places and events this year, but one really stood out. The National Heirloom Expo in Santa Rosa, California was absolutely amazing! This is one of the most inspiring events I have ever been to – imagine hundreds of varieties of heirloom fruits and vegetables, the top food activists and organic farmers in the country all meeting in one place! Not only did I get to eat some of the best organic food all year, I met so many members of The Food Babe Army – you! I also got to meet Percy Schmeiser, a canola farmer from Canada that was sued by Monsanto – his words really made a lasting impact on me.

Heirloom Festival

Continue Reading →

McDonald’s serves WHAT in London?! The outrageous double standard in fast food.

If you’ve ever been to the U.K., you might notice that the fast food restaurants over there are a little bit different, and slightly healthier than they are here. In the past, I wrote about how it’s a common practice for food companies (everyone from Betty Crocker to Pringles to Quaker Oats) to reformulate their products with safer ingredients overseas, while they continue to sell us inferior products with unhealthy ingredients here in the States. If you walk into any McDonald’s in the U.K. you’ll find organic milk available for children in their Happy Meals, and no chocolate milk.  Just think about that for a minute…

McDonald’s serves organic milk to children in the U.K.? But not here in the U.S.?

McDonald’s also serves organic milk with their porridge (oatmeal), coffee and tea! You’ll also find healthier items, like pineapple and carrot sticks that you won’t find at any McDonald’s in the U.S. – also without preservatives. Their fries aren’t cooked in oil that contains TBHQ (a derivative of butane) or the anti-foaming agent dimethylpolysiloxane (an ingredient in silly putty) like they are here. Isn’t it funny that the oil in the U.K. seems to work just fine without these ingredients?

McDonalds V4

Continue Reading →

Are You Being Tricked By These Food Industry Marketing Tactics?

The countless commercials touting Subway’s new “Fritos Chicken Enchilada Melt” have gotten so ridiculous, I am about to lose my mind. A member of the Food Babe Army sent me leaked photos of the ingredient list of this highly processed sandwich. The full ingredient list is below – you don’t want to miss this. 

I’ve been asked why I targeted Subway in my petition to remove azodicarbonamide from bread many times now. While I already knew this chemical is being used in restaurants and bakeries all across the country, I was fed up with the way Subway misleads its customers with their deceptive “Eat Fresh” advertising. Something needed to be done, especially since they completely ignored my investigation into their ingredients in 2012further pressure in 2013, and repeated phone calls and requests to their corporate headquarters. 

Continue Reading →