According to this NPR article millions of people are now looking to the Internet (blogs and social media) to gain in their food knowledge. This shift has brought new experiences and expectations to our generation and has created an interesting dilemma for those companies who used to have a hold on America’s food culture.
From the article:
Their study, entitled Clicks & Cravings: The Impact of Social Technology on Food Culture, used a combination of in-depth interviews and a national phone survey to probe the ways social media is changing food culture. This is research that’s done for food companies, and so it costs a bundle. But Hartman was nice enough to let us take a peek.
In essence, they found that social media is becoming deeply embedded in our food habits: Half of consumers use sites like Twitter and Facebook to learn about food. Another 40 percent of consumers say they learn about food via websites, apps, or blogs.
Today, people are also sharing food information online – 54 percent said they do, according to the study – with friends, family and strangers. Indeed, we at The Salt notice that many people are posting just as many photos of the food during their travels as their companions or the scenery.
The study’s authors note that even if people aren’t cooking the foods they see in a visual way online they are learning about foods and setting expectations which need to be met by more traditional food purveyors. This shift has not gone unnoticed. Recently Lazy Lightning was invited (and sent someone to attend), twice, to attend a free blogger event at T.G.I. Fridays in which a newly revamped menu and restaurant design was unveiled. If this one national chain is trying to change their menus and restaurants to portray a more “grown-up” look and feel, it’s likely that others will be (or already are) following suit.
How do you learn about food? Did you use more traditional methods (cookbooks, advertising, family) up until recently or possibly even still now? How often do you consult the Internet instead? Do you find yourself surfing food blogs just to look at foods you may never try to make yourself or even eat at a restaurant? Do you think you’ve grown personally with regards to food because of your interactions either on food blogs or with others via social media? Have you noticed a change in traditional food purveyors menus and do you think that they’re doing an acceptable job of capturing the trends seen? Whatever you have to say about this one go ahead and comment on as I’d love to hear your thoughts.