14 Ways You’re Being Fooled at The Supermarket 

defaultPart of saving money is becoming a smarter, more-informed consumer. One of the best ways to start your transformation into a smart spender at the supermarket, is to become aware of the sneaky ways in which these store use marketing tactics and psychology to get you to buy more – without your even noticing. Here are 14 ways that your local supermarket is fooling you:


1. Music

Slow music in a supermarket is designed to make shoppers slow down, notice more products around them, and spend more.

2. Product pairings

Ever wonder why the chips and pretzel aisle also carries the salsa and onion dip? These are strategic geographic pairings that encourage you to buy more.

3. Real estate

Ever wonder why popular items and household staples are displayed in the middle (lengthwise) of supermarket aisles? Supermarket marketing experts know that you’ll travel down the aisle in order to get them – noticing lots of other stuff on the way.

4. Mist

You think that the mist in the vegetable aisle is there for freshness? Think again. It actually speeds up rotting. But it also makes produce look fresh and appealing, so supermarkets make sure to mist their fruits and vegetables all day long.

5. Switch-a-roo

Did you ever go to the cereal aisle and suddenly realize it’s now the soda aisle? Supermarkets switch their layouts on a pretty frequent basis, in order to prevent customers from instinctivey developing a set route, thus avoiding impulse purchases. Devious indeed.

6. Signage

Signs in a supermarket are placed in order to redirect our attention to high-profit products that the store wants to sell.

7. Lighting 

Produce aisles are strategically lit in order to promote sales.

8. Milking it

Milk, the number one most popular item in any supermarket, is always located at the furthest point from the store’s entrance. Consumers must travel the entire store to reach the humble milk, and tend to make unplanned purchases along the way.

9. Eye level

The items that reap the most profit for the supermarket are usually placed on the eye-level shelf in any given aisle, promoting increased sales.

10. Cereal appeal

Cereal box designs are actually aimed at hypnotizing and attracting kids.

11. Cards

The sad truth about discount cards is that they probably will never earn you any real savings; they’re designed and marketed in order to track which products are the most popular and send you marketing materials.

12. Fresh at the front

The fresh smell of baking bread, soup or cake is one way that grocery stores get you hungry from the moment you walk through the door. The sensory stimulation immediately makes you feel ravenous, and then you buy more.

13. Carts

The size of shopping carts is constantly growing in small increments – studies have shown that bigger carts psychologically influence shoppers to fill them with more products.

14. Checkout

It’s not a coincidence that any small frivolous item you might buy yourself as a treat (gum, candy, soda, magazine) is right there at the checkout counter. This is impulse-buying territory.