Healthy food is one of today’s hottest trends. Consumers in search of high-quality products at affordable prices are choosing products, consuming and expressing themselves based on their personal values. Consumer habits are changing, in large part thanks to digital marketing channels. In an interview for DigiMind, Thomas Fournier, Sopexa’s Global Digital Director, tells us how digital now brings together all of the touchpoints in the consumer ecosystem, from awareness and advocacy to the consumer experience. Here is an excerpt of the interview.
What does digital media bring to the way we consume?
So much! There are now applications that meet a great many needs in the food and drinks sector. These include assistance, prevention (apps to scan products, go on a diet, avoid allergens and much more), comparison, feedback, experience, purchasing and others.
Can you give us any examples?
In order to find out all about the products we buy, there is the Yuka app, which allows us to scan products so that we can know if they are good for us from a nutritional standpoint. The foods are rated on a scale ranging from “mediocre” to “good” in terms of nutrition. This helps us to eat a little better, or in any case to curb any bad habits we might have.
As regards organisation, I recently discovered the JOW app, which helps families to plan meals. It was created by a dad who realised that once the kids were born, it was no longer possible to improvise meals on the fly with his wife, and that they had to plan them in advance. The app allows you to see and select different recipes, and then it automatically “orders” the required ingredients from a Monoprix supermarket, which then delivers them right to your door. A big time saver. Try it out!
There are also apps for dieting, allergies and food intolerances. These can warn you, for example, when a product contains gluten, too much salt for your diet or too much sugar if you have diabetes.
Next come all of the apps that help to enrich the in-store or online experience, linking the virtual sphere and our everyday lives. For example, these can allow you to scan an interactive poster for a product and have it delivered to your home. Or to buy a product and get advice from its online community via an app.
In terms of sharing experiences, there is the YouMiam app, which allows you to share recipe playlists. The community can subscribe, try out the dishes and make changes to them if they wish.
Nowadays, there are nearly no more cooking websites that do not allow users to bring their own personal touch by changing and improving the recipes. We no longer stick to recipes like we did in the past, like students in a classroom. People who are sensitive to gluten can change a recipe to meet their needs, just as people who love mint can tweak it to satisfy their taste buds. These practices help to constantly enrich Internet users’ cooking experiences.
We can see that Pinterest is heading in this direction. In addition to the Pinterest button, which enables users to “Like” posts, the “Tried it!” button allows you to upload a photo with your “take” on the recipe, thus giving the content a 2nd life.
Marmiton.org also offers a similar feature, enabling each site user to “put in their two cents’ worth”.
Are there any noteworthy practices on social media?
The YouTube Haul, originally created for the live unboxing of high-tech items or cosmetics, has now shifted into the food and drinks sphere. Here, YouTube personalities go shopping at their local market, come back home and unpack their grocery bags, camera rolling, for the whole world to see what’s inside. Surprisingly, these “hauls” have proven quite popular.
Mukbang, another video trend straight from South Korea, is also of note. It involves filming yourself eating a large amount of food, usually in real time. Mukbang hosts are often young women who eat in front of their camera and earn a living this way, as viewers can pay money to watch the broadcast. Some hosts can make up to $500 a day!
Finally, there is food porn, a practice that is indeed elitist yet has become increasingly popularised. More than simply a passing trend, food porn is a groundswell. Everyone can now photograph what they eat at home or at restaurants and share it on social media, which has become “the world’s biggest dinner table”. This trend has proven divisive, however. While some chefs forbid diners taking photos of their dishes, citing copyright infringement and demanding the right to decide where their culinary works are reproduced on the Internet, others encourage the practice, even creating fare that is easily “Instagrammable”. As you can see, there is a hot debate on this topic !