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Think Twice Before Eating a Wrapped Burger, Here's Why

Burger is good but eat wisely

By love okerePublished 11 months ago 7 min read

Today, we're going to unveil some intriguing secrets about the fast food industry. We all know that the mouth-watering food depicted in advertisements rarely matches the reality, but there is so much more to discover about how fast food companies entice us into making purchases. Prepare to delve into the world of aroma marketing, color psychology, pricing tricks, packaging concerns, drive-through technology, and the fascinating behind-the-scenes techniques used in this multi-billion-dollar industry.

One of the most powerful tools fast food chains employ is aroma marketing. Picture yourself walking into a food court, greeted by the irresistible smell of freshly baked Cinnabon. While Cinnabon does bake their pastries, the tantalizing scent that fills the air isn't solely from the ovens. Bakery chains strategically position their ovens near the front entrance, ensuring the aroma wafts towards potential customers. Additionally, staff members brush baking sheets with a combination of cinnamon and brown sugar, maintaining a sweet aroma throughout the day. These captivating smells have the ability to make us feel hungry, even when our stomachs are not empty. It's all part of the plan to make their products irresistible.

Colors also play a significant role in fast food marketing. Take a moment to think about the most famous fast food restaurant logos and the colors used in their branding. Whether it's the iconic golden arches of McDonald's or the red and white motif of KFC, these warm colors have been carefully chosen to activate our hunger and grab our attention. Similar color palettes are employed inside the restaurants, as well as in slogans, mascots, and meal presentations. This strategic use of colors isn't a mere coincidence; research supports the notion that warm colors stimulate our appetite and make us more likely to take notice.

Convenience and affordability are two major factors that contribute to the addictive nature of fast food. In the past, obtaining food required expending considerable energy hunting animals and gathering herbs. Now, all it takes is a short walk into a nearby cafe, where your food can be served within minutes. Fast food is readily available, inexpensive, and satisfies our brain's reward system. This convenience factor has a similar allure to sugar—it's hard to resist. Fast food companies are well aware of this, capitalizing on the addictive nature of convenience to keep us coming back for more.

Businesses have an astute understanding of how our brains work and exploit this knowledge to manipulate our purchasing decisions. Upsizing menus is a prime example. When asked if we want a larger size of fries or drink, we are more likely to say yes. By upsizing, we end up spending more than we intended, while the cost to the company remains relatively low. Pricing formats and the dollar menu are additional tactics employed to influence our choices. Items advertised as $5.89, for instance, often trick our brains into associating them with the number five due to its prominence, rather than recognizing the actual price of nearly six dollars. Currency signs are deliberately made small and hard to read, subtly encouraging us to select options that appear more affordable. Moreover, a psychological phenomenon called the "orbital frontal cortex" takes control when a person believes there is a better deal available among the options. This can lead to feelings of dissatisfaction or even pain when purchasing something without taking advantage of a perceived bargain. Ultimately, these strategies drive us to spend more than we initially intended.

Packaging also plays a role in the fast food experience, and it's not without its concerns. Have you ever considered that the paper wrapping your burger might contain harmful chemicals? Researchers have discovered that sandwich and burger wrappers from fast food chains often contain fluorine, a toxic substance. In fact, 38% of sandwich and burger wrappers tested were found to have traces of fluorine. It's not just limited to burgers either

—56% of dessert and bread wrappers and 20% of French fry sleeves also contained fluorine. Thus, it's not only the fast food itself that can be potentially harmful, but the packaging as well.

Drive-throughs have become a staple of fast food convenience, and they have their own set of strategies to enhance the customer experience. Drive-through machines are designed to recognize your license plate, and based on your previous purchases, they will suggest similar options as you place your order. Furthermore, cameras are sometimes discreetly placed at drive-throughs, allowing staff members to observe customers even when they cannot be seen. Through the use of devices like magnetic sensors, employees are notified when a vehicle approaches, activating their attention and ensuring prompt service. Rest assured, though, most employees are focused on their tasks and likely have little interest in the activities of individual customers.

Have you ever wondered if the meat in your burger is truly grilled? Shockingly, it often isn't. Fast food chains employ a clever solution to achieve that desired grilled appearance. They add a solution or sauce with a grilled flavor to the meat, creating the illusion of authenticity. The reality is that grilling meat at such short notice is impractical, but the visual appeal of those fake grill lines is enough to satisfy our expectations.

When it comes to fast food, the level of processing is significant. The flavors in burgers and nuggets often undergo extensive processing, resulting in a loss of natural taste. To compensate for this, companies add special chemicals to enhance both flavor and aroma. These added chemicals are designed to make the food more appealing and enjoyable.

Self-serve kiosks have gained popularity in fast food establishments, providing customers with a sense of control over their orders. However, these kiosks are designed to upsell. While using a self-service kiosk, you may not feel rushed or judged for your choices, leading to an increased likelihood of spending more. Cashiers at traditional counters are trained to ask specific questions to upsell, but when using a kiosk, we tend to feel more at ease and make additional purchases without hesitation.

In the United States, a lawsuit was filed against a fast food chain regarding their tuna sandwich. Independent lab tests concluded that the ingredient advertised as tuna did not contain any tuna at all. The company contested these claims, stating that they did not reflect the truth. As of now, the outcome of the lawsuit remains to be seen.

Nuggets, a popular fast food item, often contain less meat than expected. In scientific testing, it has been revealed that nuggets frequently consist of only 50% meat. The rest is a byproduct of a process known as mechanically separated meat. While this may be a hard truth to digest, it's essential to understand the reality of what we're consuming.

If you're a fan of Dairy Queen, particularly their blizzard cones or parfaits, there's an interesting fact you should know. Technically, what you're consuming isn't ice cream. Dairy Queen's soft serve contains only 5% milk fat, falling short of the FDA's requirement for a product to be considered ice cream, which is a minimum of 10% milk fat. While Dairy Queen openly discloses this information on their website, many customers may be unaware.

Discount coupons and free product offers are all part of the strategic plan to entice customers to spend more. Customers often visit restaurants with coupons, thinking they might as well add something else to their order since they're already there. In most cases, the item they end up buying is more expensive than the free item on the coupon. It's a clever way for fast food chains to increase their sales and profitability.

Sometimes, customers opt for healthier options in fast food chains, believing they are making a better choice. However,

many salads at fast food restaurants contain more calories, fat, and sodium than some of the other menu items. Dressings, toppings, and extras can add up quickly, turning a seemingly healthy choice into a nutritional minefield.

In conclusion, the fast food industry operates on multiple levels of manipulation. Aroma marketing, color psychology, pricing tricks, packaging concerns, drive-through technology, and behind-the-scenes techniques all work together to entice us into making purchases. From the strategic use of scents and colors to pricing formats and upselling tactics, fast food companies understand how to tap into our desires and influence our choices. It's important for consumers to be aware of these strategies and make informed decisions about their food options.

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