It’s National Cooking Day, which means it’s an excuse to cook a great meal, order a great meal or think about the role marketing plays in what you eat. That’s a thing for National Cooking Day, right? Food, restaurants, cooking and the origin of food continue to dominate lifestyle brands, and the feeds of many influencers and engaged millennials. As the majority of digital users, millennials are dictating which food marketing makes an impact.
A marketing analysis on PRNewswire of 12.5 million social media posts from millennials about food, beverages and supplements showed that:
- Millennials want to understand how their food is produced.
- 73% are willing to pay more for sustainable brands.
- 58% eat out at least once a week.
- Millennials support alternative food distribution via meal delivery and meal services.
But what’s working to motivate and sustain millennial customers? A variety of things. Combining food love with good acts, trusting your customers while maximizing various platforms, innovating when the stakes change and, as always, the celebrity touch are a few strategies posting noticeable results in the food sector.
A Good Cause Can Influence Brand Appeal
Cause marketing can be an effective tool, both for getting customers and retaining employees. People like to buy from and work for companies they believe share their values. Ben and Jerry’s is famous for their support of various political causes over the years, beginning in 1988 with their 1% for Peace campaign. Coca-Cola and Subway partnered to bring fresh water to Kenya, and Newman’s Own has famously donated more than $500 million globally by donating 100% of their proceeds to charity. Brands looking to capitalize on this trend should align their cause with their company’s image. The first initiative of the Clif Bar Family Foundation, Seed Matters, is focused on improving organic seed, which supports their company’s commitment to healthy eating and lifestyle.
A Busy Content Hub Targets Customers
Taco Bell is known for its funny commercials and inexpensive food. They also have one of the most successful content hubs of any fast food company, which may have contributed to a recent revenue uptick across the brand. News Cred Insights delved into what makes Taco Bell’s hub both delightful and effective. They take a very direct approach, targeting their Gen Z and younger millennial customers, with a bright and loud website that highlights young creators, commissioned art work and photography inspired by Taco Bell and stories of Taco Bell employees. They also reach across a variety of social channels, including YouTube, Twitter and Instagram (where fan art is the focus). Their relationship with Snapchat reached epic heights when a filter that turned faces into tacos generated 244 million views in one day.
Door-to-Door Delivery Adapts to New Market Demands
With millennials the group most interested in food innovations, it’s no surprise that meal delivery kits have been a hit with this demographic. A Morning Consult study done for Money magazine, showed that 29% of millennials reported trying a meal kit, with Gen X coming close behind at 27%. This disruptive industry was once the darling of the start-up world, posting big profits and sustained subscriber loyalty. Blue Apron led the pack with nearly a billion dollars in revenue within four years of their launch. Other competitors entered the market including Hello Fresh, Plated, Sun Basket and Purple Carrot. In order to stay relevant, innovations have emerged:
- Blue Apron has moved into Costco, selling pre-made kits for the first time at a brick and mortar.
- Hello Fresh acquired Colorado-based Green Chef, an organic meal kit company and offers curated boxes by influencers like Lauren Conrad.
- Purple Carrot offers strictly vegan kits, and fast food retailers are even getting in the game, with Chick-fil-A trying out a meal kit service in Atlanta.
A Meal Kit Winner Via Social Media
Plated is a winning example of maximizing your social media presence to grow your message and your business. Their early embrace of user generated content (UGC), encouraged subscribers to Instagram their beautiful plates of food. They not only tapped into a habit their customers already felt comfortable doing, but the #platedpics hashtag showed other Instagrammers how easy the food was to prepare. Plated was recently acquired by Albertson’s for $300 million, which illustrates that a rigorous social marketing strategy can pay off.
Honorable Mention: The Celebrity Sizzle of Meghan Markle
Meghan Markle – AKA The Duchess of Sussex, wife of Prince Harry, woman whose wedding 29 million Americans woke up at 6am to watch – has just released a cookbook. Now it may seem like the next logical step in a modestly famous actress’s life (see Haylie Duff and Eva Longoria and Alicia Silverstone and…), but Meghan isn’t an actress anymore. She’s a Duchess, and this compassionate project perfectly suits her new role. Together: Our Community Cookbook is a collaborative effort between Meghan and the Hubb Community Kitchen, where local women displaced or impacted after the devastating Grenfell fire have been cooking meals for their families and neighbors. Initially only open several days a week, sales of the cookbooks should expand the kitchen’s reach. Many of the recipes are culturally specific to the women who wrote them, offering the project an inclusive, open arms feel, which suits Meghan’s emerging brand as global feminist.
The outlook for marketing to millennials is strong for brands that implement new and responsive ways to keep the audience engaged and involved.
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About the AuthorMore Content by Sarah Cavill