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Online food content can fatten brand revenue

If you are a food and beverage brand looking for fresh source to improve your bottomline, then target the user generated food content space whether in blogs, recipe sites or social media especially Pinterest. 

A recent eMarketer report, User-Generated Food and Beverage Content: Satisfying a Hunger to Create and Share shows that “When it comes to food, user-generated content creators are primarily sharing two things, each with a different purpose: photos, which provide inspiration, and recipes, which provide utility.” Recipes are the most sought after content for users searching on food as a subject. In fact 89 percent of the respondents interested in food content said that they searched for recipes when online. This was based on a survey done by the women’s blogging community and media company BlogHer in the month of May.

Besides searching for recipes, the other significant trend to watch out for is the way consumers now take photos of the food and share it online. Image sharing social media platforms like Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr are the most used networks when it comes to people sharing photos of the food they have cooked or eaten. The BlogHer survey also shows that 56 percent of the women who go online for food related content like to post photos on these sites. Meanwhile, Facebook remains the platform to share experiences about restaurants and eating out places. Another survey by Compete shows that food was the leading topic of interaction on Pinterest.

So what do these trends pose to the food brand marketers? A great opportunity to push business and grow the consumer base. In a survey done in the US market by the recipe site Allrecipes.com showed that 65 percent of women who checked out the recipes on the site bought the branded product mentioned in the recipes. It was a common habit with the users. Allrecipes.com is a site that hosts both user-submitted content, and recipes from various food brands. Not just that, even a study in Pinterest showed that 25 percent of people bought a food product after seeing it on the site, or mentioned in a recipe.

While, most of the activity is still taking place in the US market; we expect that Asia Pacific market to catch up on this trend. Simply because, countries like China, Hong Kong, Australia, Indonesia and Singapore have a large base of online shoppers. The statement from eMarketer “What was once niche—taking photos of food and writing about meals online—is transforming into a mainstream activity, and one that provides an opportunity for marketers to pull up a chair at the table,” stresses the point.

Now when it comes to focusing on the consumers, a very direct approach may not be the best way to sell in the food world. Since this topic is so hugely consumer generated, and word of mouth seems to work best, the brands need to create an emotional connect. How can this be done? By working with popular food bloggers in the region, allowing them to try and review your product in real recipes, working with recipe sites and chefs to develop food that use your brand, holding contests for best dish cooked based on the recipe using your brand’s ingredients etc. And this is not just an opportunity for brands selling food items or ingredients, even household brands that sell say cutlery, or table and dining accessories, or dish washing detergent can grab a fair amount of eyeballs as well. Since cooking as a topic is mostly a passion with the consumers, the brands that can stoke and feed that passion will do great in this emerging business opportunity.

(Image courtesy Sony Blog)