Cannot stop eating Snacks!?

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Wow! Are these your favourite snacks?

Are these the stuff you cannot stop eating even though you have already have a meal?

Do you tend to eat more when you are facing lots of homework? Or when the report deadline is approaching?

Since last week was the grievous reading week, I have found that I consumed lots of snacks, almost twice more than before. I started to think about the consumer psychology behind the hot sale of snacks. In this blog I will discuss the reason why we would like to eat snacks even though we have already had a meal and my own explanation to the phenomenon that when we are under pressure, anxiety, we tend to eat more snacks.

So first, why do we eat snacks after meals?

Perhaps it is indeed because we are feeling hungry. Carving thoughts for snacks after a meal exist for the reason that our body is telling us to give it more energy. This process is linked with a kind of hormones, namely ghrelin. It is a key hormone involved in appetite regulation. If you have not eaten enough, your stomach will release ghrelin, which travels to your brain and makes you think of food. However, it takes certain time for us to recognize we are full after we are physically full (Cormier, 2010). So sometimes it can be a trick made by your cognition.

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On the other hand, we eat that just because we can easily get it or it stands in front of our eyes. This can be explained by the evolutionary psychology, which demonstrates that before modern civilization it was hard to get food so when human is lucky enough to get food they would tend to eat over. This proved that we are able to move on to snacks as soon as we finish our savory meal (Jacoby, 2009). Therefore, the accessible snacks like chocolates, candies, crisps and etc. in our cupboard are always our choices. This is similar to Cohen and Farley’s perspective, which thinks that people tend to have snacks because of automatic eating behaviors. Eating does not need conscious effort. So human’s eating snacks is simply because they see it which stimulates their desire for the sweet, salty tastes.

So do you realize that you consume snacks not because you really need it or it fills your stomach? People purchase snacks may initially think it can be a choice when they are in a hunger but as a matter of fact people eat it just because they see it and they are greedy! Snack retailers are making lots of profit due to such psychological phenomenon!

Then I’ll present my own idea for the reason why we would like to intake snacks when we are studying and under certain pressure. Basically, the process of studying accelerates energy consumption since brain cells are more active biologically and this increases metabolism. So under such circumstances, we are more likely to feel hungry. Moreover, eating can be a good way to transfer our attention. After the long time tension of our brain, we tend to alleviate our work strain by eating. Waterhouse et al. (2005) have confirmed that when people are under pressure, the frequency of taking snacks is higher due to the eating can temporary lighten stress.

Are you a snack addict? Retailers are taking advantage of these consumer psychologies to making large profits. I hope this blog will attract you guys.

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4 thoughts on “Cannot stop eating Snacks!?

  1. I find the snacking phenomenon particularly odd when it comes to food and cinema going, this leisure activity is accompanied by a range of foods that are usually not eaten in any other context. It seems odd to me (now dont get me wrong I love popcorn) but when we pay good money to go out for meals where the general idea is to really enjoy this quality food, and of course the company. Why then when we know our attention is elsewhere (staring straight ahead, and in the dark so we cant even see the food) are people so happy to spend so much on sweets, popcorn and those gross nachos. I have recently watched the Nigel Slater program on the BBC about the nostalgia of sweets and for him the whole emotional journal that these provide, why then when we can gain so much from really focusing on our food would we choose to spend so much on it when we know minimal attention is going to be paid. I think there is definitely a gap in the market for healthy, and nutritious but yummy snacks for consumption during those periods where you want something to nibble whilst you work, do you agree??

  2. I find I snack the most during exams when I should be studying. I think snacking for the most part is impulsive, you see it and so you want it. Verplankena, Herabadib, Perrya and Silveraa (2005) found that impulsive buying is strongly associated with snacking, and this has been used effectively by several supermarkets and other grocery stores. I’ll estimate that 80% or more of the products you see by tills are snacks, just so they can catch you with an impulse buy. Also I’ve noticed that in the Wheldon building, the crisps in the vending machine just as you walk in are 10p cheaper than the ones in the little store by the Maclab. However there is often more variety in the little store. It’s almost like the vending machine is there to whet your appetite so you’re primed in a way for snacks and more willing to spend more in the store inside.

  3. I’m definitely keen on snacking while working. Studying really makes me hungry! Small et al. (2001) found that different groups of structures in the brain were active depending on whether subjects were eating chocolate when they were highly motivated to eat (and rated the chocolate as pleasant) or whether they ate the chocolate despite being full. The brain activity that they observed indicated that there may be a segregation of functions of the neural representation of reward and punishment in the region observed. This contributes to the belief that there are two separate motivational systems in the brain: one that orchestrates approach and another that controls avoidance behaviour. However, I’m still not sure they can stop me eating chocolate!

  4. My experience with snacking at college seems to agree with the statements made in the last paragraph about energy consumption. I recall one or two all-night study sessions where my contribution to the group was going to the convenience store and getting snacks. The action provided two things: the first was a break from the studying, and the second was providing sugar to the bloodstream for energy.

    It can be seen how easily this can carry on into one’s daily practices. Things that are stressful like all night study sessions, and issues at work have caused me to look back at how this all started. Now my solution is to use my break time for a drink of water or tea. My observations at work also agree with the author’s reasons for snacking because break time is useful in order to refocus my efforts.

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