In today’s digital age, social media has become an integral part of our lives, shaping not only the way we communicate and connect with others but also influencing our preferences in various aspects, including food and beverage. With the advent of platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok, individuals now have a window into the world of culinary delights and unique dining experiences. The visual nature of these platforms allows users to showcase their culinary creations, discover new flavours, and explore the food cultures of different regions. As a result, social media has emerged as a powerful force in shaping food and beverage trends.
How Influencers are Driving Trends in the Food and Beverage Industry
One of the key factors behind the influence of social media on food and beverage trends is the rise of influencers. These individuals have amassed large followings through their captivating content, which often revolves around food and beverage. With their visually appealing posts, engaging storytelling, and passion for gastronomy, influencers have the power to shape the preferences and behaviours of their followers, who often look to them for inspiration and recommendations.
Influencers are particularly influential among younger demographics, such as Gen Z, who have grown up in the era of social media and are highly engaged on platforms like Instagram and TikTok. These digital natives are known for their adventurous palates and willingness to try new flavours and experiences. #FoodTok is the largest and most vibrant food and drink related hashtag on the platform, with over 237.5B views.
The Influence of Flavours and Unique Food Experiences on Social Media
The digital world not only influences the types of food and beverage people consume but also the flavours and experiences they seek. In the past, individuals may have been limited to their local culinary scene and the flavours that were readily available to them. However, with social media, users can now explore and discover flavours from around the world, whether it’s through visually enticing food photos, recipe videos, or virtual food tours.
Platforms like Instagram have also given rise to food tourism, where individuals travel to different cities and countries specifically to try the unique dishes and flavours they have discovered online. A good example is the “WaterTok” which is a flavoured water created by TikTok influencers using some exotic flavours like dragon fruit and açai or Nerds* flavour powder and vanilla syrup.
The Challenges and Opportunities for Businesses in Developing New Products in line with Social Media Trends in the Food and Beverage Sector
While social media presents numerous opportunities for businesses in the food and beverage sector to connect with their target audience and drive sales, it also comes with its own set of challenges.
One of the main challenges is the need to constantly stay ahead of the trends and adapt quickly to changing consumer preferences. With social media platforms constantly evolving and new food and beverage trends emerging daily, businesses must be agile in their product development and marketing strategies to remain relevant and capture the attention of their target market.
Despite that, social media also presents numerous opportunities for businesses to thrive in the food and beverage sector. By leveraging social media platforms, businesses can gain valuable insights into consumer preferences, trends, and behaviours, allowing them to develop products that resonate with their target audience.
According to Waitrose’s report, #WhippedFeta gained never-before-seen popularity. With 42.9 million views and counting, they have reported that searches for whipped feta recipes on their website were up by a whopping 4,325% year on year, with sales for the ingredients up by 33%.
Be innovative with Lionel Hitchen
To stay ahead of the curve, businesses should invest in understanding their target audience by monitoring social media trends. By doing so, they can develop innovative products, create unique food and beverage experiences and build lasting relationships with their customers.
This is where Lionel Hitchen can help your business. Our Naturally Fabulous team is on top of trends and constantly innovating our portfolio of flavours and flavour ingredients to offer customers the most authentic taste and creative combinations with your target audience in mind!
* Nerds are neon-coloured mini candies with an irregular pebble shape.
The Food People – drinkswatching July 2023
Mintel – The Future of Consumer Behaviour in the Age of Gen Z
Waitrose – Waitrose & Partners Food & Drink Report 2022-23