The Shocking Way You Are Being Tricked Into Consuming 17,000 Extra Calories A Year

How often have you been tempted to, or agreed to, pay an extra 50p for for an upgrade to a larger coffee or meal? Or have you ever purchased a larger packet of sweets, because it’s cheaper, even though you only wanted a few? 

Health experts are warning the public about a marketing ploy known as ‘upselling’ in a bid to tackle the UK’s obesity crisis. This technique is responsible for tricking consumers into buying more than they want or need by encouraging them to opt for larger portions of food or drink. The Royal Society fo Public Health (RSPH) is citing upselling as a major catalyst for the UK’s continuing obesity crisiss.

Slimming World and the RSPH polled more than 2,000 UK adults and found that eight in ten people experience upselling every week. The practice of upselling occurs when the customer goes to pay and is not at their request, pressured to ‘go large’ or for ‘extra sides’.  

Upselling results in a huge 17,000 extra calories being consumed by individuals on average over a year. That works out as 330 extra calories a week – roughly the same as seven Jaffa Cakes. 

Upselling results in, on average, 17,000 extra calories being consumed a year

The poll also found that 34 per cent of people were inclined to buy a larger coffee and 35 per cent added a side, like chips, to their meal. 

Shirley Cramer, RSPH chief executive said: “Obesity is the public health challenge of our generation and if not addressed urgently could tip over the point of no return.”

She continued: “Almost everyone can relate to the feeling of being pressured into buying extra calories through upselling.” 

The most common place for upselling to take place is in restaurants. This was closely followed by fast food outlets, supermarkets, coffee shops, pubs and bars.  

Of those polled 34 per cent said they would upgrade to a large coffee, have you done the same?

Liam Smith, 25, spoke to the BBC about his experience of the marketing ploy. He said: “Being able to ‘go large’ on a meal for 30p extra was always a no-brainer for me, as was a few pence more for a large cup of hot chocolate or paying £1 more to turn a single burger into a double.”

He added: “Afterwards, I’d wish I hadn’t done it though – I can only describe it as a major feeling of guilt.”

Have you been a victim of upselling? Do you think the industry should change its training practices to stop encouraging consumers to buy and eat more? Get in touch with your thoughts and experiences – @womanandhome.

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