Social media changes food culture by influencing how consumers think about, talk about and experience food. With the clicks of our fingers, social media alters the entire lifecycle of a meal from planning, to buying, to cooking, to eating. As consumers use social media to discover, learn, and share information about food, they quickly become more active participants in food culture. They look to bloggers and the opinions of online others to expand their culinary horizons and make purchase decisions. Today's consumers increasingly prefer to learn about products based on the experiences of "people like me," rather than directly from brands. Social media allows them to do this with ease.
Social media engages consumers in a constant conversation that makes them among the most social on record. However, they must do much of their socializing alone, in front of a computer or in the palm of their hand. This leaves consumers craving contact with real people, even if virtually. For consumers to take notice, companies must use social media to communicate in ways that are authentic and personable. The good news is that when used correctly, social media is an excellent tool for companies to build personal and lasting relationships with their customers.
This report is the result of an in-depth qualitative and quantitative exploration of social technology's impact on food fielded October and November 2011 in the U.S. marketplace. In addition to providing insights into social media use, how information is acquired and shared online, the culture of food, brand relationships and lifestyles in the digital age, the report provides strategic recommendations on how companies can leverage social media to build meaningful and profitable relationships with consumers.
Introduction, Executive Summary and Methods
Quantifying Social Media Consumers
Food Culture in the Digital Age
Real Food From Real People