New Research: How Social Media Affects Our Food Habits

new-research-01by Lori Barber

If you’re in the business of selling food to consumers you’ve noticed how much has changed since social networking became a part of our daily lives… young girls no longer learn to cook from their mothers, meal planning happens on the fly, and it’s now socially acceptable to take pictures of your food.

June Jo Lee, Vice-President, Strategic Insights, Hartman Group presented her findings from ethnographic analysis of everyday life in relation to food at United Fresh 2013 San Diego. For those of you who are not familiar with the term “ethnographic analysis”, it’s the qualitative research used to explore a cultural phenomena. As a fellow marketer, a food and wine lover, celebrity chef groupie, and proud owner of nearly every hand-held mobile device ever made, I was not all surprised to learn that Hartman Group’s research validated what I’ve suspected all along: consumers are now looking to bloggers and their social media communities for online opinions to expand their culinary horizons and make food purchase decisions.  

sitelabbers_instagram-224x300The real “ah-ha!” moment came to me as June recounted all the nitty-gritty, up-close and personal ways technology has changed the way we as humans shop, prepare and eat food.

It’s all about understanding how the lines of online marketing technologies and food consumption cross. Then it becomes much easier to reach consumers and move the marketing needle in the right direction. For example, your choice of whether to feed your kiddos a fast food snack from a drive-through window versus a healthy pre-packaged fresh fruit snack from the supermarket, is heavily influenced by what you see in the Facebook News Feed on your iPhone. You need to be in that News Feed (or Twitter Stream, or Instagram Feed…).

June’s research is telling and includes valuable information about how marketing professionals like us can effectively use content marketing to form more meaningful relationships with our customers.

Here’s the truth about how Social Media influences eating:

  • Most buying decisions about what to have for dinner happen 2 hours before mealtime.
  • Most Millennials learn to cook from YouTube – not from their mother.
  • At least 2 out of 3 daily meals are now eaten alone; while online.
  • Most households who do eat together often eat different meals according to taste preferences.
  • First time online food shoppers first try buying groceries online because they took advantage of a Groupon offer.
  • Most use a phone while in the store to call or text home and ask the question: “what do you want to eat tonight?”
  • The best advice for what to cook for dinner tonight comes from: 20% Pinterest, 18% Medical Professional, 25% Website and 89% own network of close friends.



Filed under Lori Barber

15 responses to “New Research: How Social Media Affects Our Food Habits

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    • kylie

      It literally says it is from June Jo Lee, Strategic Insights, Hartman Group in the article. It also says the format of how the information was received.

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  14. Danny

    A decent article. All information was vague, gave no clear age demographic or data relating to gender, class, or race, which are all traits that highly affect our food choices. Also, “young girls no longer learn to cook from their mothers?” This was written in 2013, not 1872. The sexism was surely a nice touch! :S

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