To celebrate Germany’s Mother’s Day, this year, Burger King Berlin launched a rather questionable menu honouring the weird and wonderful cravings that some mothers experience during pregnancy. We wanted to understand just how representative these claims of cravings actually are and shed some light on the reality behind the campaign.
Bringing clarity to the cravings
Luckily, one of Gallium’s clients Flo Health can provide us with explanations based on medical research around pregnancy cravings. This is especially pertinent when it is still considered something of a myth or an “excuse” for those who are pregnant to indulge even though “pregnancy cravings occur in roughly 50 – 90% of pregnant women in the U.S,” whilst Burger King, themselves, found that 76% of women in Germany found cravings impossible to ignore (as seen on Adweek).
Most typically, pregnancy cravings pop up at around the same time that pregnancy sickness begins, towards the end of the first trimester. These cravings can fluctuate throughout pregnancy as Flo explains that “for most people, cravings tend to spike during the second trimester and decrease as the third trimester progresses.”
Although the creations that Burger King came up with are based on actual research taken from pregnant German women, we aren’t convinced that flavours like cream and pickles would harmonise with meat, especially as the experts from Flo tell us that; “one of the most common aversions women develop is in response to the sight or smell of cooked or raw meat.”
Interestingly, this aversion is rooted in a survival instinct, as uncooked meat contains a variety of bacteria that could be harmful to pregnant people and unborn babies, as explained by the NHS.
Choose your Whopper
For a little fun, we decided to ask our friends on Twitter what they would go for:
The winning combination was the cake and beef steak burger. Perhaps it was the combination of both main and dessert in one?
However, had the poll been completed by the actual target audience of pregnant women, they would more likely have gone for pickles and whipped cream as “pickles — the stereotypical pregnancy craving — offer the high sodium content pregnant people often crave. They also deliver certain health benefits by alleviating muscle cramps and reducing the risk of diabetes.”
The most curious cravings, which even Burger King cannot satisfy, derives from the condition, ‘Pica’. This is a disorder that can affect children and those with intellectual disabilities, as well as pregnant people, and is more common than we might realise, with one-third of children aged one to six experiencing it, although the actual number is hard to pinpoint, as children will often not tell their caregiver.
As Flo explains, “Pica is a condition, possibly caused by an iron deficiency, that creates cravings for non-food items, such as burnt matches, dirt, clay, or ice. In most cases, the real reason remains unclear. If you’re drawn to dangerous or toxic substances, consult your healthcare provider.”
It is clear that pregnancy cravings have serious biological reasons behind them which are well worth highlighting. This is especially true if we are to give women’s health the serious attention it deserves, and work to reduce the gender health gap.
At Gallium, we are always keen to champion this issue and promote the ways in which technology can help to create a more equitable healthcare system. If you are a femtech company and working to address issues affecting women’s health we would love to hear from you. Why not get in touch for a chat?