I am excited to have a guest post from Anne at Green Eggs & Moms. I hope you enjoy the post as much as I do. (I had no idea she loved vampires like I do.)
Did you know that a grocery store’s layout is based on neuroscience and marketing research?
Your grocer has one goal, and one goal alone:
To get you to buy more.
They spend a lot of money on analyzing a consumer's buying behavior, and implementing techniques that work.
But guess what? The secret is out and you can shop more wisely! What’s even better is that you can educate children on how to resist marketing tactics employed by supermarkets.
But why do you need to increase children’s defenses against these marketing spells?
So they can make better decisions when it comes to buying healthier products, as opposed to dumping sugary snacks into the cart.
Also, being baited by impulse buying means more money is spent. Don’t you want your children to learn how to buy only what they need?
How can you teach children to ward-off marketing spells, then?
1. Make a list together. This acts like a battle plan. Your mission is to go in the store and only buy items on the list. This tactic thwarts impulse buying.
2. Set a time limit. A partnership between Path Intelligence and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology found that the longer people stay in a grocery store, the higher the sales.
So, with the help of #1, you and your child can avoid:
- wandering down the aisles only to be lured into impulse buying, and
- buying more than what is needed
Now that we’re done with the planning stage, it’s time teach children to grab for healthy food.
3. Even if Dora is on the cereal box, it doesn’t mean it’s healthy. Cereals in general are healthy treats, but not if they’re laced with sugar. Unfortunately, with the help of advertising, companies are making it more difficult for children to resist opting for these snacks, because of the characters displayed on the box.
A study published on the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine found that characters – well known or not – affect children's taste perception.
The simple act of placing Ronald McDonald, for example, on a snack, wires children to think the treat is delicious. And this is fine if the snack is a healthy one. What if it isn’t?
Teach your child to choose less sugary cereals or snacks by reading the nutrition label. (If your child is too young for this, still go through the motions and explain what you're doing.)
A great way to teach children about nutrition labels is through this online game, so you may want to check it out.
4. “Can I make this at home?”
According to this article from Brain Engineering, stay away from bagged salads, protein or energy bars, pre-formed burger patties and canned tomato sauce, because they can be made at home - which will turn out to be cheaper.
Packaging does cost more so buying these items in the supermarket will cost you extra.
But price is only the secondary goal here. Remember that food items stacked on grocery shelves contain preservatives, to increase their shelf-life. And preservatives are unhealthy.
Getting your child to help prepare a salad at home, for example, not only ensures she ingests less preservatives, but also makes her more invovled and interested in her food.
Note: The “Can I make this at home?” question is designed to help you reflect on whether you have the time to make packaged food items at home or not. The answer is different for everyone. Also, this isn't intended to pressure moms into creating homemade goodies all the time, especially if time is something scarce.
Before you equip your child with these essentials...
Remember that your goal is to teach them to shop wisely. Why? So when they reach adulthood, they can make healthier food choices and save some money along the way.
Do these 4 steps with the kiddo whenever you go to the grocery and you’ll be handing down a valuable life lesson: the ability to ward-off marketing spells.
What do you think of this 4-step system?
About Anne: Anne Mercado is the quirky author behind Green Eggs & Moms, which offers clever parenting articles to keep moms with young kids sane. When she's not hunched over the computer working, you can find her either counting down to ten to get her kiddo to move faster, or reading a horror book. She also loves vampires and zombies.
Photo credit: morgueFile