Despite a year in which health care, gun violence and economic woes dominated headlines, 40 percent of Americans rated food-related news as more important than any other in 2014, according to a new study.
Hunter PR’s Food News Study, which was conducted in conjunction with Libran Research and Consulting, surveyed over 1,000 Americans ages 18 years and older examining their awareness of food news and even more importantly for FBU followers, how such news affect the consumer behavior.
The study found that actionable food stories – the ones where consumers can make immediate and measurable changes such as eating less sugar or reading labels – influenced behavior the most. They also found that the media channels, which consumers receive their news stories, affect the types of news stories shown. According to the report, social media sites are more apt to report on food news compared to more traditional media sources, which are still favored by Generation X and Boomers. As might be expected, it’s millennials that are using social media as their main source (30 percent) for food news.
Statistics on social media show the increasing influence it has on Americans’ food-related activities.
- Americans searching for food recipes and nutritional information on social media are up eight percent and seven percent, respectively.
- American consumers are more likely, from 17 percent in 2013 to 21 percent in 2014, to consider purchasing a product if they saw it on Facebook first.
- Creating shopping lists and watching video recipe demos while accessing social content both went up by seven percent since last year.
- Millennials are more likely to use their mobile devices for food-related activities: searching for recipes (26 percent), checking nutritional information while shopping (25 percent), and watching cooking videos for instruction (27 percent)
So what should our entrepreneurs do with such information? Focus on actionable food stories, taking into account that Americans are more often seeking lower-sugar options, clean labels and traceable ingredients. Also note that social sites have become a key media channel for millennials, and increasingly so for other age-based demographics.
Hunter PR’s report noted that nearly a quarter of millennials enjoy sharing and taking pictures of what they eat, so Instagramming your packaged food or drink — as might a 22-year-old restaurant goer — might not be such a bad idea.
Read Hunter PR’s full report here.