When it comes to eating, we have two brains:

  1. Our Big Brain – 100 billion neurons deciding how appealing the food is via smell, taste, and texture. This decision is combined with the emotional factors of how we feel, who we are eating with, where we are eating and past experiences, good or bad, with the meal
  2. Our Gut Brain –100 million neurons making independent decisions about the enjoyment of the meal. Specifically, are you still hungry, satiated or too full.

The challenge comes in making sure both brains walk away from the dinner table happy. This challenge is further complicated by fast-paced lifestyles and mass food production, which has led to more calories being consumed more often.



But what does this have to do with advertising?

Marketers are not just facing the above challenges. More and more restaurants are now posting the calorie count of their various items. As consumers become smarter about their calorie intake, their habits will change.

We know that consumers pay a ‘price’ in calories when making a choice about the food they will eat. But what we are now learning is that what consumers think is a “fair” caloric price to pay for fast food (i.e., “a great balance between calorie count and taste–would still taste good, so I’d consider eating it”) is significantly lower than the “actual” caloric price on fast food items.

However, the good news is that marketers can be rest assured that creative quality in advertising can help raise this “fair” caloric price in consumers’ minds. The better the ad (determined by predictive, copy testing scores), the higher calorie counts consumers are willing to pay in their daily intake. Meaning, they are willing to pay more in calories for the same item from two different restaurants when the ad successfully depicts the food in an appealing way and communicates a relevant message.

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Research conducted by Samantha Moore, VP of Client Services at Ameritest.
This was a brief glimpse into how advertising affects caloric impressions. For a copy of the complete report or for more information, please contact Sonya Duran, sonya@ameritest.net.