Supermarket Dirty Tricks: Aromatherapy…

This tricky technique to get you to buy more at the supermarket may not be entirely new to you… But you may not have realized before just how deeply the food sellers are invested in using your nose as a way into your wallet.

Supermarket Sampling - © 2013 glenview.suntimes.comThey’ll try to suck you in with samples – and the aroma bomb will
hook you before you even see the Granny Stand!

Remember when your Mom first wised you up to the sneaky way the supermarket vented the aromas from the Bake Shop, at the far back corner of the store, up to the place where you entered the store, to get you in the mood to buy food?

That was primitive compared to the stuff they do these days, designed to get you to buy specific items from their ready-to-eat ‘Deli’ selections and pop-up displays for particular products where tantalizing samples are offered.

The ready-to-eat frontal attack

First of all, they not only pipe selected aromas into the entry ‘air locks’. They also place their ready-to-eat foods right there, where you come in and, on average about half the time, have to walk past to get to the items on your list, which are buried more deeply in the store. If they have a Pizza special that day, that’s what you smell. If it’s Rotisserie Chicken, that’s what you smell. It’s enough to drive you crazy. It’s another really good reason not to go grocery shopping when you’re hungry. You’ll be far more likely to spend money on stuff that’s not on your list when accosted by those insidious, lip-smacking odours on an empty stomach!

The bakery, revisited

The Bakery, of course, is still in one or the other of the far back corners of the store. They realy don;t bake anything fresh anymore. I could show you pages and pages of items in a several different catalogues of factory-made, ready-to-bake-from frozen items, from French baguettes (they’re always on offer!) to flaky, buttery Croissantes and dozens of different types of breads and rolls. All they do at the store is pop them in the oven for 22 minutes at 325 F and then put ’em out for sale. But that creates the all important Bake Shop aroma that has been instrumental in derailing so many well-intentioned diets over the decades…

New twists

Now… One of the more recent developments in guerilla aroma marketing is the ubiquitous sample stand. You know… They have a little podium with a smiling granny, an electric fry pan and they offer samples of frozen or other prepared food products to hook you on them.

You can often smell these little islands of temptation before you round the corner, at the end of the aisle and actually see them. Lack of early warning makes them hard to avoid.

The moral(s) of this story…

1. Don’t go grocery shopping on an empty stomach! Ever!

2. Don’t let your nose dictate ad hoc menu choices to you.

3. You’ll not only save money but eat healthier if you make it yourself from fresh ingredients.

~ Maggie J.