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What Grocers Need Know About Modern Foodies


While the pursuit of great taste remains top of mind for foodies, they are becoming more demanding and selective while prioritizing culinary experimentation in their own homes rather than going to restaurants, so says Sopexa's 2015 Foodie Study.

With the aging of Millennials and the digitalization of Gen X, foodies have evolved into "housechefs," whose growing decision-making power requires a whole new set of changes in positioning, purchase patterns, and marketing practices, according to the global food, beverage and lifestyle marketing agency's latest insights.

"Foodies are no longer food enthusiasts who only know about hot spots," explains Pauline Oudin, Sopexa USA's managing director and digital lead. "Through our research and analysis, we are seeing that they are more independent, connected and experimental than ever, leveraging their savviness to find, own, and display new products, flavors and cuisines to their online networks. Empowered by technology," Oudin continues, "they have become housechefs, elevating everyday gourmet cooking, with whom brands can engage across the entire purchase funnel."

Among the featured finds on Sopexa's study:

Foodies are reclaiming the kitchen, including cookware and appliances, as they embrace the pleasure and creativity of home cooking, with 75 percent opting to cook at home several times a week, alongside 93 percent of those who cook daily for themselves and their family as opposed to eating out. Key motivators are their role and its positive impact on others' happiness and nutrition.

Eighty-four percent of American foodies cook to express their creativity and are increasingly fond of world cuisines, especially Latin flavors. Top five favorite foods are Italian, Mexican, Spanish, French and Chinese.

Foodies are democratizing gastronomy through their extensive use of social media, which they employ more than seven times per day to quench their thirst for inspiration and admiration. Foodies unanimously use Facebook (90 percent) and Instagram (73 percent), then Pinterest (36 percent) and Twitter (19 percent), to seek and share ideas and display their creativity.

Although foodies hunt for new products and recipes online, research shows that they prefer to buy groceries in stores (88 percent) or directly from local producers (52 percent), which gives them a chance to see, touch, smell, feel, and potentially taste, the products first-hand.

Not included in Sopexa's analysis but also hugely important to the in-store experience is the chance to interact personally with purveyors, producers and engaged front-line staff.

Keys to Foodies' Hearts

To best leverage the way the new breed of foodies find, pick and endorse products, Benjamin Bourinat, Sopexa USA's director of public relations and social media, recommends marketers and retailers pursue some of the following steps to ensure that their business is ready to engage with the modern foodies:

  • Become an integral part of the foodies' creative process by developing recognition programs in line with their time spent on searching, shopping, cooking, and bragging.
  • Amplify messages of origin, exoticism, nutrition and self-improvement. As foodies take their individual role seriously, brand preferences will not be swayed by discounts, contests, or games.
  • Increase the frequency of mobile touch points across Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest for visual storytelling and greater brand exposure. Remember, foodies are either social voyeurs or social exhibitionists; they rarely partake in online conversations unless they feel they are driving them.
  • Re-examine your influencer strategy. Attention levels are decreasing as foodies are more educated and acknowledged. Ensure you are getting endorsements that compliment their egos.
  • Word up, grocers: Because foodies prioritize buying in-store rather than online, be sure to brush up on ways to personalize sensorial experiences to build a long-lasting emotional connection between foodies with products and/or a set of goods necessitated to achieve culinary excellence.
  • For those looking to increase their online sales: Emphasize where the product comes from; how it will taste, smell and feel; and how it will improve the foodie's wellbeing in order to make up for the lack of physical encounter.

Here's hoping that Sopexa's right-on-time insights will help get those all-important, pre-holiday planning juices flowing. Foodies will handsomely reward your efforts.


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