Marketing from the Grocery Aisles: Counting Calorie

My husband is fanatical about coupons, especially if they’re for “buy one, get one free” from a fast food franchise. He hides the coupons from me, and then at lunch, hops in his car to stock-up on hamburgers, breakfast sandwiches, and other notoriously unnnutritious grub.

I often find the food wrappings from his plunder in the trashcan or stuffed under the seats of his car.

Excluding Taco Bell — which in my mind offers wholesome, exemplary cuisine — I avoid fast food restaurants. Since I don’t eat beef or fried foods, it’s easy for me to drive by McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s, and Jack in the Box.

My weakness is coffee: Mochas, iced coffees, Frappuccino’s, frappe or just a good cup of joe with half-and-half.

A few weeks, ago, when we received a Burger King coupon book in the mail, nudging us to taste their “Fresh New Flavors,” I flipped past all the offers, pausing on the page touting their new frappes and real fruit smoothies. Not only did they look amazing, but they were free! Frappe

Sunday afternoon, therefore, with coupon in hand, I waltz into our neighborhood Burger King to try their BK Mocha Frappe. My husband had a coupon for a BK Mango Smoothie. While waiting for our drinks to arrive, I scanned the menu, noticing the calorie count for various items.

“Holy macaroni and cheese,” my brain screamed when it registered a 12-ounce BK Mocha Frappe is 410 calories! A 16-ounce frappe is 510 calories! While outrageously tasty, it’s hard to justify slurping a perfected blended mixture of “ice, mocha, a hint of coffee with whipped deliciousness and a mocha swirl,” which accounts for 25% of a 2,000 calorie diet!

Drats!

Would I have chosen such calorie-rich foods if I’d been in a grocery store? Probably not. When shopping for food, I’m accustomed to reading the nutritional information on packages before making a selection. In addition, my desire for food it’s heightened by the smells, attractive pictures, tempting offers, and people eating around me, as in a fast food restaurant.

Is there a lesson to be learned? Maybe. Even though the nutritional information on a box of saltine crackers might dissuade me from making a purchase because of the high fat, sodium, and white flour content, the health claims and ingredients on a box of Triscuit, a few inches away, will result in my throwing them in my shopping cart.

In the same vein, Burger King offers a satisfactory alternative to their Mocha Frappe. Their medium iced coffee has just 110 skinny calories, which is 400 calories less than a 16 ounce Mocha Frappe! Even though a medium iced mocha coffee is 260 calories, it’s still 250 calories less than the frozen version.

The lesson being, if presenting customers with in-depth information about your products and services, which could be viewed negatively, offer them alternatives. Chances are they’ll make a purchase after studying the options.

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