Article

Jamie-Leigh James
Jamie-Leigh James 3 February 2022

How the Marketing of Food & Drink Plays a Huge Part in Our Everyday Choices

Food and drink are not only essential for survival but are huge sources of pleasure in our lives. They provide comfort, health and are a huge part in socialising, so you would not think they need much selling. However, there is a massive marketing machine behind the food and drink industry that has a bigger influence over your choices than you might think.

There has been a lot of research conducted into consumer psychology when it comes to food and drink marketing campaigns. Understanding how we think, what we react to and what draws us is important when it comes to the art of subtle selling.

Whether it is a festive red cup in a coffee shop or an air of luxury around something more expensive, every little detail will have been thought about in order to convince you to part with your hard-earned cash.

Coffee

You might think that coffee is just coffee, but every enormous coffee brand in the world would argue differently. They all have their own differences, and coffee has become one product in the food and drink industry that has seen massive growth in sales over recent years.

These brands all want to win your custom, so their marketing has become extremely targeted to make you choose them over the rest. In the UK, we spend more than £4 billion in coffee shops each year, and we have plenty to choose from, with the likes of supermarkets and fast-food chains now trying to compete with the coffee giants and independent cafes.

They try to entice you through clever social media campaigns, loyalty schemes and by enhancing their green credentials with the inclusion of reusable and recyclable cups. There is also a big emphasis on their coffee being ethically and sustainably sourced and ensuring that all dietary requirements are catered for.

The choice on offer can sometimes be mind-boggling, as they aim to appeal to every possible taste, and this only ramps up even further when they release iced sensations in the summer, autumnal flavours in October and Christmas treats that become more extravagant each year.

Coffee also takes up more and more space in the supermarket aisles as consumers aim to recreate the barista experience at home. From freeze dried options to ground coffee and specialist pods, the coffee brands want to capture your attention every time you pick up a cup.

They now even offer their syrups in store to enable you to have that coffee shop experience from your own kitchen.

Christmas

Christmas is a perfect example of the levels of marketing that are thrown at the food and drink sector, through various winter festive drink trends. Suddenly, every supermarket will put a heavy focus on their luxury ranges, encouraging people to opt for something more special than normal for the big day.

More than 40% of people have stated that they feel Christmas has begun when festive drinks are released. This can be seen by the appearance of an infamous red truck, or seasonal flavours being added to the menu in your favourite coffee shop.

This creates a buzz around a brand that is designed to get the consumer excited and keep the brand at the forefront of their minds. Whilst the hot drinks in the supermarket don’t tend to look any different at Christmas, the big coffee chains unleash a festive onslaught that cause shoppers to spend more in their stores in December than at any other time of the year.

The tendency to believe that we can be indulgent at Christmas no longer centres just on 25th December, and now impacts on our choices as soon as the season begins. We are convinced by shiny packaging, layers of chocolate and more sugar than we know what to do with, that it is fine for us to treat ourselves. After all, it’s Christmas!

Colours

We encounter a myriad of colours every single day, and each one has some sort of impact on us. From rage inducing to calming, we all have natural reactions to colours that branding experts are well aware of and have put to very good use. It is one of the most important sensory cues when we think about food and drink, so getting it right is important.

Generally speaking, we want our food to taste as we expect it to, so the colours that we see need to set those expectations. They become synonymous with certain types of foods, and this is not an accident.

For example, some of the biggest fast food brands in the world have red in their branding as it is known to stimulate and excite. It can enhance the appetite and is often associated with passion and sweetness, so it is no wonder it is so popular with marketers. Yellow is also an appetite stimulant and tends to signify optimism and energy.

In contrast, blue represents freshness and cold, so tends to be used for chilled products. Associated with royalty, blue can also be used to invoke feelings of luxury. Green also represents health and nature, so customers tend see products with this branding as being better for them or the planet. The simplest colour is white, and brings feelings of purity and sophistication.

Black is seen as more of an exclusive and intense colour and is a favourite of high-end brands, and so is often associated with coffee, alcohol and energy drinks. Brown once again harnesses nature and is seen as being wholesome or even masculine, whilst purple is indulgent and spiritual and is therefore used by creative brands as well as luxury ones.

Paying close attention to these marketing techniques can show you how thoroughly you have been influenced, even when you don’t believe that you have. Every item you add to your trolley and every coffee shop that you walk into has spent extensive amounts of time and money trying to get you to make that very choice.

Food and drink might be something that we all buy, but in a crowded marketplace, brands have used some clever techniques to make themselves your favourite.

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