Dr. Mehmet Oz revealed the subliminal marketing secrets and tricks supermarkets use to fool you into buying unhealthy, expensive foods on the Aug. 19 episode of the Dr. Oz Show.
Dr. Oz's guest was investigative reporter Michael Moss, who said supermarkets and grocery stores manipulate you into buying high-priced, processed products simply by how they stock certain items.
Moss, author of "Salt Sugar Fat," said the goal of any merchant is to get you to make impulse purchases and buy a lot of expensive stuff. Unhealthy brand-name items often get the best placement in supermarkets because they pay for that privilege, Consumerist reported.
'Eye Level Is Buy Level'
As a result, the most expensive goods are usually placed at the shopper's eye level on shelves, while no-name, cheaper brands are put either at the very top or bottom of shelves, which shoppers often overlook.
There’s no advantage for the supermarket to put the cheaper items in the most visible spot, said Dr. Herb Sorensen, author of "Inside the Mind of the Shopper." That's why expensive, sugary cereals are usually placed at eye level.
Surprisingly, supermarkets and department stores have recently increased the size of supermarket carts and found that customers bought more 19 percent more as a result.
Another subliminal marketing trick is to place cookies next to milk, so you'll be tempted to impulsively buy cookies when you buy milk. Supermarkets also play relaxing music to put you at ease while shopping and target your sense of smell by tempting you with the aroma of freshly baked bread or roasting chickens. You might even buy a cooked chicken on impulse to save yourself the trouble of cooking one yourself at home.
So the next time you find yourself absent-mindedly reaching for those chips or candy at the checkout line, just be aware why you're doing that and remember that supermarkets exploit human nature to increase their profits. While these tricks may seem harmless, it could end up hurting your pocketbook and your waistline.