I recently stumbled upon some pretty eye-opening information about how grocery stores market to our children. Trust me, as a dad, realizing this made me look at our weekly grocery shopping trips in a whole new light. Let’s dive into what’s happening in those aisles and chat about some ways we, as a family, can navigate it all.
Cereal Aisle Shenanigans
Take a second to picture the cereal aisle. Noticed how the most colorful boxes with playful characters are precisely where your little one can see them? Yep, they’re placed strategically at kids’ eye level. Tony the Tiger isn’t just there by coincidence; he’s positioned to catch those tiny, eager eyes. And it’s not just about where these cereals sit. Special displays, cool in-store promotions – these cereals are getting the VIP treatment. All to make sure they’re the first choice for those Saturday morning cartoons.
That Drink Push
And don’t even get me started on the drink section. Those colorful pouches, playful branding, and those “limited-time” promotions are designed to make those sugary drinks almost irresistible to kids. I mean, who can say no to a free toy or a cool sticker, right?
Big Brands Behind the Scenes
With so many brands out there, you would think that marketing tactics would be more diverse. But nope, most of these strategies come from a handful of major companies. They’ve done their homework, understanding exactly what makes kids (and us parents) tick. It’s kinda impressive and slightly sneaky, if you ask me.
The Domino Effect
Here’s the kicker: these marketing moves aren’t just shaping what goes into our carts but also what goes into our meals at home. When colorful, sugary choices keep ending up on our breakfast tables or in lunch boxes, it starts to feel normal. And over time, this shapes our kids’ tastes and preferences, leaning more towards sugary, less-nutritious options.
Leveling the Playing Field
Alright, so we have set the game, but that doesn’t mean we can’t execute some power plays of our own.
- Chat and Choose: Before heading to the store, have a chat with the kiddos. Maybe make a game out of picking the healthiest cereal or the most refreshing real fruit drink.
- Family Food Adventures: Turn grocery shopping into a treasure hunt. Maybe this week’s mission is to find a vegetable none of you have ever tasted. Or see who can find a breakfast cereal with the least sugar.
- Kitchen Collaborations: Cooking together can be a blast. It’s the perfect time to chat about where food comes from, the benefits of each ingredient, and hey, there’s no harm in sneaking in a little dance party while waiting for those cookies to bake!
Look, at the end of the day, every trip to the grocery store is a chance to teach, learn, and grow together as a family. Grocery stores market to our children in a variety of ways, so it’s important to be aware of these tactics and how they can influence our kids’ food choices. Let’s make the most of it and turn those sneaky marketing tactics into fun, family learning moments. Until next time, happy shopping!
- L Harris, Jennifer et al. “Marketing to Children in Supermarkets: An Opportunity for Public Policy to Improve Children’s Diets.” International journal of environmental research and public health vol. 17,4 1284. 17 Feb. 2020, doi:10.3390/ijerph17041284