#FoodPorn: The Growing Influence Of Social Food

Whether you like it or not, taking pictures of their plates has become the norm for young consumers, and now the power of food on social media is beginning to influence restaurants, marketing, and platforms who want to capitalize on the popularity of #foodporn. 

63% of 13-32-year-olds have posted a photo of food or drinks they or someone else was having on social media, and 57% have posted on social media about what they’re eating. That’s compared to 52% who have posted a photo of new clothes or accessories they've recently purchased. 47% of young consumers we surveyed say they consider themselves foodies. It’s no wonder the #foodporn trend has exploded. There are currently well over 54 million public pictures on Instagram alone tagged as food porn.

Food on social media has become a powerful force. From avocado toast to cronuts, it has helped inspire full-on food trends and helped make food the new status symbol. But brands might be missing the opportunity to target their plate obsessions. Only 11% of 18-29-year-olds feel like food advertising is aimed at them, according to a recent survey in the UK. If brands want to change that number, they’ll likely have to take a different approach. As Edelman recently advised to brands hoping to connect with these consumers, they eat with their eyes first, and “snackable food images are just as important as the content they accompany.” The influence of social food is spreading to marketing and menus, as brands begin to capitalize on their behavior. Here are three examples we’ve seen: 

1. Chili’s Menu Makeover

Forget that catchy "baby back" song, Chili’s new marketing is all about looking good on their customers' social feeds. The brand has taken note of young, “forward thinking” consumers’ plate-photographing tendencies, and have actually

 
 

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The Newsfeed

Quote of the Day: “[Animal Crossing Pocket Camp is] free to play, but it's loaded with a lot of content. It's super cute and relaxing.”—Female, 32, IL

PepsiCo needs to think small to compete with indie brands. Their new unit, The Hive, will be “a small entrepreneurial sort of agile group” to foster smaller brands and create new brands based on emerging trends. Unsurprisingly, The Hive is a response to consumers (ahem, Millennials) who are “demanding” healthier products and championing smaller labels. We continue to see big brands adopt startups, and startup thinking, as they navigate today’s competitive landscape. (Fortune)

Millennials and Gen Z are going to “extreme lengths” to share streaming passwords—and major platforms are losing millions. Magid research indicates that 35% of 21-35-year-olds and 42% of those younger than 21 share streaming service passwords, compared to 19% of Gen Xers and 13% of Boomers. One particularly amusing anecdote: the 20-something who uses the HBO Go login of a one-night stand from 2013. Though Netflix and HBO have both said that password sharing isn’t a problem, there’s no denying they are losing out on revenue—Hulu stakeholders estimated a loss of $1.5 billion yearly. (CNBC)

Wikipedia-branded streetwear has sold out. The site teamed up with LA streetwear brand Advisory Board Crystals for a “surprising” collaboration, and the resulting long sleeved tee emblazoned with “Internet Master” and Wikipedia’s puzzle logo was a success. All proceeds from sales were pledged to the Wikipedia Foundation, and the store is planning to restock “to make as large of a contribution as possible.” According to Ypulse Brandoms research, 60% of 13-35-year-olds say logos are back in style. (MashableThe Verge)

Fitbit’s new tracker is about more than just fitness. Though their smartwatch business is growing significantly faster than trackers, the brand “hasn’t given up” on their roots—and their newest model offers a range of features for wellness-focused users. While it, of course, tracks exercise and calorie burning, it also has built-in meditation, sleep tracking, and female health tracking. Since 96% of 18-34-year-olds tell Ypulse that taking care of their mental health is just as important as taking care of physical health, thinking beyond workouts could be a wise move. (Business Insider)

Amazon wants to steal away YouTube creators to bolster their own platform, Twitch. They’re reportedly offering multi-million dollar deals to influencers ranging from Gigi Gorgeous to Will Smith, hoping their large followings will follow them off of YouTube. So far, Twitch has 15 million daily users compared to YouTube’s 1.9 billion but Twitch’s SVP promises “a steady drumbeat of lots of new content.” They’re also reportedly looking to double their ad revenue in the next year, and their foothold on video games like Fortnite is sure to help. (Bloomberg)

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