Is it ethical to use sensory marketing for food products: A perspective regarding sense of taste?
Abstract

Marketing strategies often use some aspects of human nature balancing among ethics and profit. Sensory marketing is based on “embodied cognition” the concept that bodily sensations help to determine human decisions without conscious awareness. Consumers don’t perceive such messages as marketing and don’t react with the usual resistance. Taste is unique among other sensory systems in its instinctive association with mechanisms of reward and aversion, related to close contact with consumer. The background of obesity is in interaction of genetic, metabolic, behavioural and environmental factors: the rapidity with which obesity increases suggests that behavioural and environmental influences are accelerating the epidemic. Traditionally, “addiction” is applied to the abuse of drugs that activate the brain’s reward pathways. There is wider understanding of the term including so-called “behavioural addictions” including compulsive overeating phenomenon. Food addiction is described as loss of control, overconsumption and withdrawal symptoms experienced in relation to highly palatable foods. It is proposed that some foods have the potential for abuse in a manner similar to conventional drug. This article argues a concept of ethic in marketing when classifying obesity as an addiction. If so, sensory marketing targeting food is doing much more harm way than we thought.

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