Category Archives: Science

“It’s important to get Christmas dinner right!” says supermarket, via marketing scientists

“It’s important to get Christmas dinner right!” says supermarket, via marketing scientists

Christmas is just around the corner, and with it the annual stress over getting that family meal just right. Fortunately, research published in the Daily Express (by Nathan Rao, who potentially contributed barely a word to it) has the answer to your prayers: a scientific formula to follow.

Admittedly, if your prayers involve a scientific formula published in the Express and Daily Mail, to guide your Christmas Dinner preparations… well, you have a very curious idea of religion. But, I guess, evidence that yours is the one true god, so, y’know, Mazel Tov.

First things first – just how scientific is this article? Well, it’ll come as little surprise to you to find the scientist behind this is one David Lewis – founder of neuro-marketing company Mindlab International, and no stranger to this very blog. David has appeared in the press a number of times over the last few years, often (in my opinion) trading his scientific legitimacy in for publicity.

Personally, I find this deeply problematic – not least given that many people’s only experience of science is what they see in the newspapers. Stories such as this paint a skewed view of what legitimate science is, portraying scientists as little more than zany stereotypes, conducting silly work. Which leads to comments like this, from the Daily Mail story:

Really! I’m sure the science community has better things to do than spend time on this!! It’s the one time of the year when your definitely allowed to have a few extra spuds!

What the commenter – and many like him – doesn’t realise is that it’s likely no real science was done in the name of this article. Rather, a company looking to garner some attention in the press found an academic willing to lend their name – and with it, the legitimacy of their profession – to what is in essence an advert.

Which leads us to the company behind this story:

The perfect plate was created for Aldi by TV food psychologist, Dr David Lewis, of Channel 4’s Secret Eaters and eating expert Dr Margaret Yufera-Leitch…

An Aldi spokesperson added: ‘Everyone likes to treat themselves at Christmas but the traditional turkey dinner is the one meal where people feel most pressured that everything should be perfect…

‘By shopping at Aldi, families really can relax knowing that they are serving top quality, award-winning foods without breaking the bank.’

And by hiring scientists like David Lewis, Aldi can secure legitimate-seeming stories in at least two national newspapers, without breaking the bank.