There are five tricks up the sleeves of fast food companies that get people always coming back for generous helpings of junk food that’s high in calories and bad for the heart.
In no particular order, but each one very significant, here are the top five tricks that the fast food industry uses to reel people in to buying lots of heart-unhealthy fast food!
Big Colorful Ads in Public
Ever notice that the giant building for a medical center has a tiny little sign out front that you can barely read from across the street, but Joe’s BBQ Stand has a sign bigger than an 18-wheeler with blaring red letters surrounded by bright orange “flames”?
And it’s not just the small Ma and Pa establishment that relies upon visual attraction. The big guns in the fast food industry pull this stunt too.
There’s actually a link between obesity and fast food advertising, says a 2013 UCLA study. Dr. Lenard Lesser of the Palo Alto Medical Foundation Research Institute says in the report that “marketing gets people to eat more.”
Big huge billboards off to the side of busy highways begin grabbing motorists’ attention from far away.
Great Deals on Meals Rather than Single Items
You’re more likely to order the big fat sandwich that comes with the large fries and medium soda if it’s almost as cheap as just the sandwich alone.
Some “meals” are actually cheaper than the individual sandwich in that meal. Not wanting to feel like they’re over-spending, people will order the “meal” and end up putting more calories and unhealthy fats into their body.
By definition, “fast food” is convenient. But the speedy time it takes to hand over your order is just the beginning.
Due to the large volume of fast food establishments in locations that are heavily frequented by people, many families end up eating dinner or lunch in the car – between rushing around to carry out the day’s activities and being “too exhausted” to make a healthy meal at home.
Note how thick and sturdy the disposable food trays are for some fast food giants – you can trust even the clumsiest kid in the backseat with these.
And if you’re out on city road and suddenly decide to buy fast food, you’ll find an establishment within minutes without even trying.
Speaking of Kids…
The fast food industry does a lot of targeting towards children. According to Statista, the Statistics Portal, here’s how many TV commercials American kids six to 11 see every year for various fast food giants:
• McDonald’s: 253
• Subway: 81
• Domino’s and Burger King each: 71
• Pizza Hut: 68
• Wendy’s: 48
• KFC: 29
That may not seem bad, 29, and even 48, but 253? That definitely has an impact.
Furthermore, a report in the journal PLOS says that fast food commercials that target kids often include toys and other giveaways. Can anyone say, “Mommy I want that!”
Not only do many parents cave to their child’s begging – even if it’s just for the little toy rather than the food – but sometimes, parents will give in because the TV ad reminds them that there’s a convenient alternative to cooking for three kids.
TV Commercials Directed at Adults
Remember the McDonald’s slogan of decades ago that was sung in a jingle, “You deserve a break today, so get up and get away, to McDonald’s?”
That was only the beginning. Now there’s “i’m lovin’ it.” And all the slogans in between, including for other fast food behemoths.
Remember the one for Arby’s some years back, a campaign featuring a young man newly living on his own, whose mother worried that he wasn’t eating properly?
“Don’t worry Mom, I eat at Arby’s!” This had appeal to young men striking out on their own for the first time, plus their mothers who probably suggested that their sons eat more at Arby’s.
Need I mention the close-up views of pizza slices being separated from the pie in slow motion? And what about the rash of Sonic commercials that have been inundated TV for years?
And of course, name one fast food commercial in the past 50 years in which any of the actors or actresses were overweight. Lean, attractive people are hired for these commercials for a reason, though there IS the occasional goofy looking man, but you certainly won’t see any obese people in these ads.