Going to the supermarket and buying groceries has become a weekly ritual for most of us, so it’s no surprise that we may go on auto-pilot and neglect the subtle tricks that stores tend to use to get more money out of their customers. Keep reading to learn 10 Industry Secrets That Make You Buy More Food!
10. If You Buy More, You’ll Consume More
Though it can be hard to resist a good sale at the grocery store, sometimes the phrase “less is more” still manages to hold true, even at the supermarket. You may think that putting a lot of groceries in your cart may be a good way to stock up on food for the rest of the week, but you may find that the food you bought disappears far more quickly than intended. Even if you’re buying a huge box of cereal that is supposed to last the entire month, it can go by far quicker if you’re used to eating an entire small box every week. The same goes with beverages; buying a 12-pack of soda when you’re only used to drinking a 6-pack every week will likely make you drink more soda weekly. The size of our grocery orders are getting bigger, which can in turn change our habits and cause us to spend more money as a result. Be mindful of the up-scaling in the sizing of many foods and beverages, and make sure you’re consuming your groceries at a normal rate; you may think that getting two hundred dollars’ worth of groceries is a smart idea when you want to stock up, but having all that extra food in your refrigerator may tempt you to eat or drink more than usual. Making sure you’re monitoring your daily eating habits. Remember, staying alert at the grocery store will keep your habits from changing too much.
9. Marketing Uses All Five Senses
In order to effectively run a grocery store, not everything has to be about the visuals. Though you may not think much about the smell of fresh bread or rotisserie chicken when you enter the store, these tiny touches are completely intentional, and are used as a way to subliminally market the mouthwatering foods to customers. If you smell a fresh baguette right upon entering the store, you’re more likely to think about how a warm, crunchy loaf of bread would be perfect to enjoy at home, prompting you to slip one into your cart — even if the bread wasn’t on your shopping list. If you go shopping, especially while you’re hungry, the scents alone can be tempting enough for you to purchase more food than you intended on buying before arriving at the supermarket, which gives the store more money. Marketing certain foods using smells is also effective because it’s effortless: customers don’t think of the delicious scent of juicy rotisserie chicken as a marketing ploy, but will rather just assume it’s part of the natural supermarket environment, allowing them to make a positive association between the store and the pleasant smell. Creating a loyal customer base that enjoys the supermarket’s environment is crucial for any business in the ever-growing, ever-changing food industry, and the smells of tempting, delicious foods will likely help to keep consumers coming back for more.
8. Fresh Bread Won’t Stay That Way For Long
There’s no denying the rustic charm that comes with getting your bread from the supermarket in a cute brown bag, but the way your local grocer packages bread is likely a way to make it go stale faster. This prompts customers to buy more bread if their loaf goes stale before they can finish it, which brings more traffic to the store and allows them to pocket more money from shoppers. If you want to keep your bread fresh for as long as possible, make sure to put your bread in an airtight bag as soon as you get home. This will lock in freshness and ensure you have time to properly enjoy it before it starts to go stale. Freezing your bread will also keep it fresh if you don’t intend on eating it right away. Though it’s a bit of a bummer that supermarkets want your bread to go stale faster, there are ways for you to keep it fresh for as long as possible, which will end up saving you time and money!
7. Staying Close By is Good for Business
For some, grocery shopping can be a stressful mess of an experience. For others, however, it’s a great way to distract yourself from school or work, and can be a fun and effective way to get your mind off of whatever is bothering you. Either way, grocery stores want you to stay for as long as possible, as lingering longer will likely put more money in their pockets. Staying near shelves stocked to the brim with food makes the temptation to buy more even greater, often making you leave the store with much more than you intended on buying. Most stores use subtle and sneaky tricks to keep customers in the store for as long as possible, with one of them being the music choices. Grocery stores tend to keep the BPM of their music on the slow side, which allows customers to relax and settle into the store instead of rushing to get in and out as fast as possible. Needless to say, you can combat this temptation by wearing headphones or earbuds to the grocery store; by playing your own, upbeat tunes while you shop only for what you need, you’ll be a lot speedier with your purchases and won’t be tempted to spend any extra money. This works great if you’re on a tight budget and can’t spend more than a certain amount, or if you’re just someone who loves food!
6. The Veggies Are Placed In Front For A Reason
When you walk into the supermarket, you’re almost always greeted by the bright colors and textures of the produce section. This seems to be the standard for every supermarket, no matter where you go. Grocery stores put the produce up front because of the bright colors and fresh-looking products, which will more often than not put their customers in a good mood for shopping, even if they’ve been to the same grocery store hundreds of times. Human brains love color, and react positively to seeing the bright hues of fresh fruits and veggies, which in turn will make you feel a little happier about what is basically a tedious weekly errand. Not only that, but the fresh misting of vegetables as you make your way through the produce aisle is also intentional: the water droplets on the food makes them look that much more appetizing, even though it doesn’t do all that much to keep the produce fresh. In fact, online sources mention that the misting of produce in grocery stores may often lead them to go bad more quickly. Not only that, but the water droplets add weight to your produce, making that head of lettuce weigh a little more than normal at the checkout kiosk. Be sure to shake out your leafy green veggies before weighing them to make sure you’re not getting overcharged! Hey, a penny saved is a penny earned.
5. Keep Receipts
Grocery store shoppers are people of habit; when you’re going on your weekly shopping trip, it’s more often than not your buying the essential items you need to stock up on for yourself and your family. In fact, online sources cite that 80% of what shoppers buy every week stays the same, meaning there is often little variation in what’s going into your cart. With this in mind, you can easily track the prices of your go-to items by holding on to receipts. This way, you’ll be able to tell which foods are on sale, full-price, or more expensive than usual — effectively shielding you from any deceptive tricks the grocery store may pull in order to get you to pay more. Though you might think you know what to look for at the supermarket every week, it has been mentioned that shoppers rarely remember the prices of their essential groceries, and as a result can often pay more for what they need without meaning to. Grocery stores are well aware of what their customers really need, so it’s important to be wary of any possible changes in price to make sure you get the best deal. By keeping the receipt, you can make sure you’re paying the same amount or lower for your groceries week by week, using the previous week’s spending as a reference point. That way, you can track your expenses while still making sure you’re getting the best deals possible on your everyday essentials!
4. Buy One, Get One Isn’t Always That Great
One way supermarkets like to lure shoppers in is through BOGO sales, where customers can buy one item and get the second one for a discounted price (usually around 50% off). However, the wording of these types of sales can be deceiving, and lead you to believe that you’re getting a better deal on these items than you actually are. In reality, the discounts you get with a BOGO sale aren’t much to write home about; if you’re buying one item for full-price and getting the second one for 50% off, you’re only getting a 25% reduction on both items, which doesn’t amount to much savings if you’re buying something like chips or canned fruit. Savings experts online are telling customers that discounts of 50% or more are the ones to take advantage of because it means the sale is legitimate. Though Buy One, Get One 50% Off may not be that great of a deal, Buy One, Get One Free means that you’re saving 50% on both items, providing you with maximum savings. If you’re worried about skipping a BOGO sale, don’t worry too much; shopping experts have mentioned that everything in the grocery store will go on sale for 50% off eventually. Knowing that it’s only a matter of time until your favorite items sell for 50% off will keep you sharp and ready to snag some great deals when they happen!
3. The Milk Myth
Shopping for milk at the grocery store may feel like second nature to you at this point, but it may actually be better to grab your milk the next time you’re at the gas station convenience store or picking up your prescription at the drugstore. Compared to the milk you buy at the grocery store, the milk found in these smaller stores can cost up to fifty cents less by the gallon, which can amount to massive savings in the long run. The milk found in mini-marts and drugstores also tends to be the exact same brands you buy at the supermarket, so you can have peace of mind knowing that the milk you’re buying is hormone-free and, in some cases, locally produced. There have been numerous theories about the placement of milk in the back of most supermarkets, with some people speculating that grocery stores do this in order to get people to travel all the way through the store to pick up an essential item, tempting them to buy more as they make their way to the dairy aisle. Though this may be true, others online think that the consistent placement of milk in the back of every grocery store is for a much simpler reason; to unload the milk easily. Since milk is such an integral part of many people’s diet, deliveries have to be made to stores regularly, and placing the fridges in the back of the store makes it all the more convenient for milk to get unloaded and refrigerated quickly. Though it may not be a ploy to get you to walk all the way through the supermarket, it seems like shoppers dropping items in their carts on their way to pick up some milk is a happy after-effect of placing dairy in an area that is convenient for deliveries.
2. The Items At The End of the Aisles Aren’t Always On Sale
Ever tried to turn the corner at your local grocery store only to got bombarded with advertisements for Doritos, Goldfish crackers, or Mountain Dew? The ends of the aisles at the supermarket — often called “endcaps” by those in the industry — are usually flashy enough to catch customers’ attention, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be getting anything on sale. Contrary to popular belief, the items placed on endcaps aren’t always marked down from full price; rather, they’re usually used as promotions, paid for by certain brands to drive more sales for new products. This strategy is often used by snack brands like Tostitos or Nabisco, who drop new flavors for their snacks often and need to advertise them to consumers. Though looking at endcaps can be a great way to find a new and exciting snack, you won’t be getting the best deal possible by looking there; if you’re a snack fanatic looking to get your goodies without breaking the bank, getting your munchies at the dollar store is a much better idea. They usually have huge selections of snacks and treats, which usually cost a lot less than what you’d pay if you bought them at the grocery store.
1. Skip The Deli and Seafood Counters
Though buying your meat and fish from the counter at your local grocery store sounds like the best way to get the highest quality meat, the sad reality is that the meat and fish you find behind the counter isn’t what you’re probably expecting. Fish in the display case may look like it was freshly filleted, but grocery stores will often write “previously frozen” on the labels in tiny font, which understandably flies under the radar of most grocery store shoppers. Knowing that the fish is frozen, you’re probably better off buying it from the frozen-food aisle instead of picking it up from behind the counter, as you’ll be getting the same product for a much lower price. The same principle applies to the deli counter; though you are paying for the deli worker to slice your ham and cheese for you, there won’t be much of a difference in the quality of the stuff you find at the deli compared to what’s stocked on the shelves. The same goes for those fresh pizzas you see at the deli, which are oftentimes store-brand frozen pizzas that have been heated up in the oven and served for twice the price of what you can get in the frozen food aisle. If you’re looking to get the best price on fish, lunch meat, or cheese, you’ll more often than not find the best deal in pre-packaged formats — not behind the counter.