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Social Media and the Food Industry still has a long way to go

The food industry is beginning to have a presence on social media in Spain, but this does not mean that companies are obtaining all the value they can from it.

I found some interesting cases in other countries where they are having more campaigns through Social Media, one example is the Activia drink in Slovenia, they launched a successful campaign through Facebook to change the image of the brand, getting young women engaged and passionate about activia. This was called “live with activia” where they created an online social challenge, where you had to describe activia, draw it, take pictures with it, etc… the winner could win a trip for two to Indonesia. Interest in the challenge grew quickly and spread to thousands of people. Instead of people just watching tv commercials and looking at a banner, they got them to personally promote Activia.

Although it is true that some companies have taken care of their consumers, I personally liked the response of McDonalds in Spain.  In response to requests by customers on social media platforms and by popular demand,  they started to once again offer a previously discontinued product. I think that selling a product your customers are already interested in and which you know for a fact is a product in demand, will guarantee success for your company.

Social networks offer us a lot of opportunities, we only need to know how to make the most of them. It´s true that in the current economic situation, it can be hard to convince companies to invest in social media consultancy, and this is perhaps the main obstacle to overcome, but if you really study  the return on investment, you will soon discover that they are viable.

I will highlight some figures and trends about Social Media and the food & beverage industry:

  • Half of consumers learn about food from social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook and 40% learn about it from websites, mobile apps or blogs.
  • 80% of consumers read other consumers’ reviews and feedback about food and beverage brands online.
  • Social/digital media is replacing Mum as the go-to culinary source of knowledge, healthy eating and gourmet cuisine for many people.
  • Consumers, on average, mention 7.6 food and dining brands and 7.2 beverage (alcoholic and non-alcoholic) brands to friends per week. These are two of the most common consumption categories to be recommended and to have recommendations requested.
  • 41% of consumers list recommendations from friends/family/colleagues as the most valuable source of information regarding products and brands.
  • 71% of influencers and 48% of the overall public turn to word of mouth for making food and dining purchase decisions

I think the food industry should seriously invest in Social Media consultancy. It is a bi-directional channel, where companies can offer so much to their customers and they can learn from them. They must seize the opportunity in this highly competitive market.

Sources: Keller Fay Group, Universal McCann/InSight Express, StarCom MediaVest Group/CNET Networks, Lumin Collaborative.