Upselling at Fast Food Restaurants Fueling Obesity

A third of the customers buy larger coffee, more cream or more fries every week due to upselling, which medical experts are saying has fueled the current obesity epidemic.

The majority of people in the UK or 78% that answered surveys said they are sked in fast food locations, restaurants and stores a minimum of once per week if they would like to “go large” for bigger portions according to a new report.

Those succumbing to the upselling receive at minimum 55% more in calories by paying only a fraction more. The upgrading of a meal or larger chocolate bar or bigger coffee raises the cost on average 17%, said the report.

However, the calories equal weight gain of approximately 5 pounds each year, estimate medical experts. Younger people between the ages of 18 and 24 are the most apt to be upsold, consuming on average an extra 750 calories per week that potentially could lead to them gaining 11 pounds of weight in one year.

This new report was released by the UK’s Royal Society for Public Health and Slimming World, who said that upselling has for years been a routine sales technique used to entice customers into spending and consuming more.

Experts in public health are calling on the government to step in and take quick action against the promotions of buy one get one free found in supermarkets, but the upselling at food establishments has flown under most government radars.

The report said upselling is persuading the customer to purchase an additional amount of food or something more expensive. The term may be relatively new but the concept has been used since the 1980s.

Studies show that when a person is presented with portion sizes that are larger, they eat more and their calorie intake rises, said the report’s researchers.

Staff at one restaurant, who spoke anonymously, told researchers they were trained to upsell and are given incentives to do so.

One worker at a café said they if a latte is ordered, the worker has been trained to reply, “large?”

This insinuates to the customer that they were in fact wanting to purchase a large latte and typically convinces them to say yes.

One anonymous fast food worker said staff at the establishment where he works are trained to always ask if the customers wants a meal and are often times reminded of the goals set by management for the number of large meals they are expected to sell each hour.

Health advocates are calling for government pressure to force establishments to end their upselling practices.

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