Reading into web search trends offers food brands an unexpected way to predict the shopping habits of the average grocery shopper. Popular food-related search results offer real time insights into popular food ingredients, flavors, cooking trends and specialty products and offer brands a way to connect with customers on a whole new level.
Millennials Hit the Web for Food Ideas
By 2025, Millennials will make up 75 percent of the workforce, giving this demographic considerable buying power. Finding a way to reach these young adults is an imperative for stores and brands hoping to keep or grow market share—and that means understanding where the consumers go for food-related content.
Take YouTube, for example. The video sharing platform—where Millennials flock for all manner of content—has become a leader in the sharing of cooking ideas, tips, inspiration and techniques. According to Google:
Recipe and food content increased by 59 percent in 2014.
YouTube food channel social engagement increased by 118 percent.
Food channel growth expanded in subscriptions by 280 percent from 2013 to 2014.
Millennials turn to YouTube for 4 key reasons:
To spark food creativity.
To make food prep easier.
To learn new cooking skills.
To travel or escape through food.
Keep in mind that YouTube is only one area where food content is gaining traction. In addition to YouTube, consumers hit other social media sites like Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Vine to get their fix.
Food Shopping Follows Seasonal Trends
Each of the four seasons bring about a regularly rotating schedule of food prep trends, some based on the weather, while others are based on food availability. Here’s an example of what seasonal-specific food search trends look like—specifically those trends recorded by Google from 2013 and 2014:
Winter: paleo, vegan, weight loss, cleanses, buffalo wing recipes, and frying recipes
Spring: Easter side dishes, Easter desserts, fish recipes, and juice and detox cleanses
Summer: iced coffee, canning, and jams and jelly recipes
Fall: pie recipes, gluten free, recipes for Thanksgiving, cookie recipes, and whiskey drink recipes
It is clear that the grocery buying habits of the typical food shopper can be, at least in part, tracked by what recipes and food preparation searches they perform online. The goal, however, should be not just to use this information to inform traditional advertising and in-store promotions, but to actually draw in searchers with branded content.
Utilize Food Trends to Build Your Brand
Consider posting shareable and value-packed content that focuses on seasonal food-related keywords—food images, recipe ideas, instructional videos. Tailor the content to your target audience. Bento boxes for moms of school-aged children or recipes that use your ingredients in Indonesian dishes for Millennials.
Set up a tracking program that allows you to analyze the impact and reach of your content, and encourage sharing of your content by creating online contests that offer prizes for the most shares on social media then look at the weak links and reorganize to better fit your audience. Go a step further by providing higher value content like eBooks, food prep printables, and videos showcasing how to use certain ingredients in your brand in innovative ways.
Technology Is Redefining How Consumers Shop
As magazines and other traditional cooking resources are being overlooked in favor of free, online recipes, search trends have offered an increasing amount of insight into food buying habits. The average grocery shopper has turned to the web to discover food trends, recipe ideas and cooking techniques, and connectivity is only projected to increase in the coming years, forcing food marketing execs to rethink how they engage customers.