Most of us have been there before. We’re working hard, minding our own business when all of a sudden we get a craving. It starts small, but before we know it, we’re thinking about food constantly. We try to fight it off, telling ourselves that we’re not actually hungry and we don’t need to eat anything. But the more we try to fight it, the stronger it gets, until eventually we give in and head to the kitchen for a snack. If businesses can be on hand e.g., with a branded usherette tray full of snacks at this crucial point, or achieve top-of-mind awareness with their snack brand this is the ideal situation.
Why do people want to eat snacks and drink sugary drinks when they’re out or at a film or event? Why can’t we just ignore the feeling and carry on with our day? As it turns out, there’s a reason for our snack cravings, and it has everything to do with our brain chemistry and marketing activity.
The Science Of Cravings
Have you ever wondered why you seem to crave certain foods more than others? It turns out that there’s a scientific reason for that too.
It all has to do with something called dopamine. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that helps regulate pleasure and motivation in the brain. When we eat something that tastes good, dopamine is released, and we experience a momentary spike in pleasure. Brands often try to show the promise of pleasure in their advertising and product branding and this promise can be highlighted by someone carrying a branded usherette tray or sampling tray with a strap, full of ice creams, sweets, and snacks.
This is why snacking food is so addictive. Foods like crisps, biscuits, popcorn, and sweets are loaded with sugar, fat, and salt—ingredients that trigger the release of dopamine and leave us feeling happy and satisfied.
The problem is that these snack food cravings are often strongest when we’re already feeling stressed or unhappy. That’s because when we’re feeling down, our brains are looking for any opportunity to release dopamine and make us feel better—even if it’s just for a few minutes.
Snack food cravings can also be triggered by habits and routines. For example, if you always eat a bag of crisps while you watch your favorite TV show, you’ll start to crave crisps every time you sit down to watch TV. Or if you eat dessert every night after dinner, you’ll start to feel like you need dessert to feel satisfied. People often associate going to the cinema, for example, not just with getting lost in the film but also with the habit of buying an ice cream or other snack from someone holding an usherette tray.
The Power of Marketing
Companies invest millions in creating links in our minds between their products and satisfaction and happiness. Seeing their adverts, packaging, and branding, and even a branded usherette tray can, therefore, prompt the need to purchase to feel happier.
Reasons For Cravings
The next time you find yourself veering off course for a sugary snack or dessert when you’re not actually hungry, remember that there’s a reason for your craving. It’s not just your imagination, it’s your brain chemistry at work!
Of course, that doesn’t mean you have to give in to your cravings every time they strike. If you’re trying to eat healthier or lose weight, it’s still possible to satisfy your cravings without sabotaging your diet. Instead of reaching for the biscuits next time you get a sweet tooth, try satisfying your craving with something else—like fruit or dark chocolate. Instead of snacking on crisps or sweets when you’re bored, stressed, or engrossed in a film, you could try finding another activity to take your mind off of food altogether. With a little effort, you can overcome snack food cravings. That said, the power of advertising and repeated exposure to it shouldn’t be underestimated in snacking.