A Behavioral Modification Machine

The snack business is big.  Very big: more than $124 BN in North America and $167 BN in Europe, according to Nielsen, a market research firm. The global soft drink (sweet drinks, fizzy and flat and water) market is over $531 BN.  That’s a lot of cola, even if some of it is sugar free.  The industry built up around manufacturing, marketing and distributing these products is sophisticated and focused on selling more of its products each year.

Now, a can of Coke contains over 9 teaspoons of sugar (Orange juice has just as much.)  Now, consumption of sugared sodas has begun to decline in the U.S., as consumers begin to take to heart the correlation  between sugar consumption obesity and diabetes but we are highly conditioned to consume sweet, salty and fatty foods.

I am reminded of this whenever I hit a gas station convenience store, most of which are designed as carefully calibrated snack and drink selling machines.  Marketers have spend years researching how people buy, what motivates them and how to move more snack products through an outlet.  Over 90% of the the typical convenience store layout is devoted to snacks and brand managers for the salty snacks and soft drink brands are incented to grow sales volume expand product lines.  And they do this ably.

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