#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: “I actively avoid discussions of TV shows.”—Male, 31, MI

Networks are launching an onslaught of new streaming services to compete with the likes of Netflix and Hulu. CBS, Disney, and now Warner Media are hopping on the bandwagon to compete for young cord-cutters' viewing time. The digital switch makes sense, considering 74% of 13-36-year-olds told Ypulse they watch Netflix weekly, versus 33% who watch cable weekly. But one eMarketer analyst predicts this over-saturation in the streaming wars will lead to “a shakeout," in which companies will be weeded out unless they consolidate their offerings. (THR)

Macy’s is putting virtual reality in 90 stores, with the “largest VR rollout in retail history.” Shoppers can don HTC Vive VR headsets to create 3D floor plans, design their living spaces, deck them out with Macy’s furniture, and then take a step inside of the room. The retail tech enables smaller Macy’s stores to offer a lot more inventory to shoppers, and follows in the footsteps of other reality-bending home décor brands. And, according to Macy’s, VR sales were 60% higher than regular sales in their three pilot stores. (MediaPost)

Prada is plotting a comeback among young consumers. They’ve been slow to adapt to digital, but now the luxury company is emphasizing Instagram and aiming to grow their online sales, which were just 5% in early 2018. While investors applaud Prada’s dive into digital, they also believe the brand needs to shutter several stores—not just to increase “profitability” but to create “the illusion of scarcity.” Prada also has to recover from being late to the luxury streetwear game. (Bloomberg)

Some teens are opting for technical school over four-year universities. At Queens Tech, high schoolers are trained to take on non-desk jobs, like being an electrical engineer or working for public transit companies. Earning a high paycheck that isn’t chipped away by student debt is helping to overcome the societal stigma of skipping college. According to one Queens Tech student, “If you’re a construction worker, you may get paid the same as a doctor, but you don’t look as good.” (Vice)

Don't expect to see macho men and swooning women in grooming brands' latest ads. Instead, companies across the industry are toning down the machismo for Millennial & Gen Z males. Some are blurring gender lines, like Dollar Shave Club, whose “Get Ready” spots debunked stereotypes by not just casting straight, cis males. Other brands are betting modern men are more in touch with their emotions, like Gillette, who shared the touching story of a man’s son becoming an NFL linebacker, despite missing one hand.
(Ad Age)

Quote of the Day: “[Zendaya] is such a beautiful human being and I grew up watching her on the Disney Channel.”—Female, 18, TX

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