5 Tips for Marketing to Foodies

“Foodie” is a nebulous term that can easily be written off as a buzzword. We hear or read it almost every day, but how many of us can actually use it in a sentence with full confidence? I enjoy eating tasty food; does that make me a Foodie? If there’s a new restaurant from a well-known chef that I’m excited about, am I a Foodie? Most people would answer yes to the above questions, so surely there’s more nuance to this term than one might think; after all, not everyone can be called a Foodie. Understanding this word and all that it entails is essential for marketing to this sought-after demographic. Let’s dig into understand what it means to be a Foodie, the associated trends and how best to reach and establish connections with them.

What are Foodies?

A Foodie is someone who seeks the adventure of trying new dishes, of searching for new, cutting-edge restaurants; to someone who eats not only as means of nourishment but also as an experience. It’s crucial that marketers understand the hobbyist aspect of being a Foodie. Like other hobbies, subscribing to the Foodie lifestyle is multifaceted and consists of much more than just eating; it’s the research, the exploration, the documentation that round out the experience.

This demographic is evolving. While the stereotype of Foodies feverishly seeking out the hippest restaurants still holds true, more and more are turning their attention to cooking at home. In fact, according to a study by Sopexa, an international food marketing agency, over 75% of Foodies are cooking at home multiple times a week. Marketers must expand their understanding of Foodies beyond those who merely consume food to those who also create it. In order for advertisers to successfully target Foodies, they must insert themselves into all aspects of the connoisseur’s journey. 

1. Strive for a deep connection

Eating a well-cooked meal is a meaningful experience. Food lovers don’t just consider the final result, they think about the entire process that leads them there. Foodies savor the time they spend perusing their local farmers market. They relish combing through cookbooks, searching for the perfect recipe. They feel immense excitement about trying a new ingredient or dish. When considering marketing strategies, know that you’re dealing with a thoughtful, research-prone group. Genuine efforts to personalize your marketing message and to build a relationship with this audience will have a significant impact. After all, you’re trying to advertise to an inherently creative group so leave out cheap contests and games. Focus on community building and engagement. Consider Kraft’s “Twist That Dish” program designed for people to share their recipes. This effort engages with the communal aspect of the Foodie lifestyle while leveraging the brand’s existing status as budget-conscious. They rely heavily on technology – a major factor when it comes to successful marketing strategies.

2. Technology and social media

Smartphones in particular are integral to the Foodie experience. “Food porn” may seem like a flippant term, but the documentation of meals – from simple creations to full-blown feasts – is an enormous part of this culture. Pauline Oudin, the managing director at Sopexa, reports that her company’s study has found that a whopping 90% of Foodies use Facebook to research and display their creations, and a sizable 73% use Instagram. Advertisers should create compelling visual stories that seem at home alongside artfully constructed photographs of ramen. Keep in mind that the majority of social media use is performed on smartphones, so maintaining a fast, mobile-friendly website is crucial for any marketers trying to reach their target audience. Here are some helpful guides for crafting the perfect Facebook and Instagram campaigns.

3. In-store importance

While this may seem surprising following a tip about technology and the value of an online presence, Foodies much prefer shopping in-store than online, which makes total sense when one considers the cultural shift towards prioritizing local foods. Marketers and advertisers are now required to know their audiences at a local level. Sponsoring an event at the upcoming Savor Dallas, for example, would be an excellent way to show Foodies that your brand cares about the community and is looking to cultivate followers. By inserting marketing efforts directly into the food buying process, your brand will become an integral part of the overall Foodie experience.

4. Origin is everything

Foodies love to try new things. Whether it’s a new restaurant or an exotic ingredient, they are looking to expand their horizons. While there’s certainly a sense of personal excitement that goes along with novel experiences, the communal story-sharing and bragging that occurs after the fact is really what it’s all about. Food blogs are an excellent example of this; excited Foodies are sharing their unique experiences for the whole world to see. Online marketing techniques should be structured similarly to the most entertaining of food-blogs. A well-thought out story is essential. As mentioned earlier, the Foodie experience is a journey, and advertising efforts should mimic this narrative. Foodies love learning about origins and history. They crave tactile descriptions; this is what often leads them to try new dishes or ingredients. As creatives, they want to consider how food and their lives are intertwined. As a marketer, one of your key goals should be crafting your brand’s story in such a way that it too becomes an integral part of this audience’s life.

5. Hot spots are still hot

Yes, Foodies are cooking at home and experimenting in the kitchen a lot more than they used to, but that’s not to say they never go out. If the culinary experience is a key component of your life, you’re still going to feel that twinge of excitement if one of your favorite chefs is opening a new restaurant. Marketers must have their fingers on the pulse of their areas this demographic frequently visits. While Foodies might not be flocking in droves to the hottest new restaurants, they’re still certainly aware of their presence. With Foodies focusing more on home-cooking, there is an opportunity for marketers to become tastemakers as it pertains to restaurants. Your brand’s website could become the go-to spot for locals looking for the perfect date-night location. With eating out becoming a rarer activity, people are doing increasing amounts of research to ensure that their experience is as special as possible. If your advertising techniques can draw this research back to your company, then your brand is going to be well-trusted and highly regarded within the Foodie community. For brands targeting this demographic, this is one of the best possible outcomes.

Marketing to Foodies requires one to stay completely up-to-date on the latest trends and happenings all across the food world. However, given the increased importance everyone is placing on food, marketers would be wise to stay current too on all aspects of popular culture. And with the interconnectedness of pretty much everything, food culture will undoubtedly begin to reflect trends outside the confines of what we currently think of as “Foodie.”