More consumers turn to social media for food knowledge
SEATTLE — Mom is being replaced by technology as the go-to source for culinary knowledge, according to a new report.
In their new report, "Clicks & Cravings: The Impact of Social Technology on Food Culture," consumer research firm The Hartman Group and food and nutrition marketing agency Publicis Consultants USA found that almost 50% of consumers learn about food via social networking sites, including Twitter and Facebook, while 40% learn about food via websites, mobile applications or blogs. While eating or drinking at home, nearly one-third of Americans use social networking sites, but among Millennials (those ages 18 to 32 years), this figure jumps to 47%.
“Consumers used to rely on Mom and family traditions for meal planning, but now search online for what to cook, without ever tasting or smelling,” said Laurie Demeritt, president and COO at The Hartman Group. “Digital food selection is less of a sensory experience and more of a visual and rational process: What’s on the label? What’s in the recipe? Show me the picture!”
The study, the companies said, provides insight for food and grocery brands that are looking to develop digital campaigns, which could provide long-term payoff by creating a connection that inspires influence. Being present in social media or having followers is not enough, they said.
"The best social and digital campaigns reflect the audience’s values, interests, concerns and aspirations,” Publicis Consultants USA president Steve Bryant said. “There are many brand opportunities for each specific consumer. For example, a brand may entice ‘dreamers’ [those that curate and push food-related content through social networks] by incorporating their recipes on its site, or appeal to a ‘spectator’ [use social media as an extension of their network of friends, family and peers, and use social media for product reviews, recipes and good deals] by offering incentives in exchange for a video review,” states Bryant.
For the complete findings of "Clicks & Cravings: The Impact of Social Technology on Food Culture," click here.
This article is a terrific companion to the blog I penned about a week ago and is featured here on DSN.
Sara Lee introduces pound cake slices
DOWNERS GROVE, Ill. — Sara Lee has introduced its latest dessert that is ideal for personal desserts or on-the-go snacking.
New Sara Lee pound cake slices include six slices per package (each slice is individually wrapped) with no cutting required and are available in original and double chocolate flavors. Each serving touts 160 calories and 180 calories, respectively.
“As people’s lives have gotten busier, on-the-go and conveniently-portioned snacking options have gained popularity,” Sara Lee Sweet Goods senior brand manager Kanika White said. “It’s important we understand what people want when it comes to snacking, while not compromising the great taste and homemade quality people expect and love about our Sara Lee Pound Cakes. The new Sara Lee Pound Cake Slices give people the best of both worlds – the ability to snack simply wherever they please, any time of the day.”
Average suggested retail price for Sara Lee pound cake slices varies by region of the country. The product now is available nationwide.
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Mintel: When it comes to ethnic foods, authenticity is key
CHICAGO — Among consumers who eat ethnic food at home, two-thirds of them said authenticity is the utmost important ingredient, according to new Mintel research.
In addition to an authentic flavor, ethnic foodies also emphasized that ethnic food should have the following features: all-natural (49%), premium/gourmet or artisanal (49%) and reduced fat (48%) positional claims, which round out the top characteristics that matter in the purchase decision.
"If flavor fanatics are going to spend their hard earned money and time visiting an ethnic restaurant or buying international foods to prepare at home, increasingly, they want it to be the real deal," says David Browne, senior analyst at Mintel. "Therefore, products positioned as such have a greater likelihood of finding favor with consumers."
When it came to what type of ethnic fare made at home, 70% of Mintel respondents said they made Italian food in the past 30 days, while nearly two-thirds (63%) of people have made Mexican food, followed by 46% who made Chinese food and 29% who made fusion dishes, mixing elements from various culinary traditions.
Mintel also noted that interest in specific ethnic fare, including Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine, has increased over the past year.
"Consumer interest in healthy eating and convenience food contributes to the growth seen in the Mediterranean and Middle Eastern categories," Browne said. "The growing popularity of prepackaged hummus and Greek-style yogurt mixed with the deli salad case offering chickpea, tabbouleh and orzo salads is giving this cuisine a healthful and easy edge on the competition."
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