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    Cooking Lessons for the Digital Age

    Online apps, videos appeal to consumer cooks

    By Kathy Hayden

    Once upon a time, TV’s Food Network turned people into foodies overnight. But today consumers are looking to even more immediate media for cooking inspiration and tips, with food apps that help them shop, cook and eat better.

    Smartphones and apps like Fooducate, MyFitnessPal and Locavore put virtual personal trainers, shoppers and nutritionists in consumers’ pockets. Dedicated Instagram accounts provide food facts and personalized fitness tips. And Think with Google research shows that YouTube is one of the most popular and well-used conduits for culinary know-how, especially among millennials.

    “In the last year alone, views of food and recipe content [on YouTube] grew 59 percent, and social engagement (such as likes, comments and shares) on food channels rose by 118 percent,” according to Think with Google’s “Millennials Eat Up YouTube Food Videos” report. The report finds that people older than 35 are more likely to print out recipes; 59 percent of 25- to 34-year-olds cook with either their smartphones or tablets handy.

    While some YouTube cooking celebrities, such as Jamie Oliver, are recognizable from the Food Network and other traditional media, many are stars on a smaller scale. And in many cases, the shorter the lessons, the better: “Food hacks” or kitchen tricks are minute-long lessons taught by curious cooks. These hacks make cooking easier and more fun, and appeal to 41 percent of the millennials surveyed by Google.

    Digital cooking experiences offer big possibilities for grocerants too, with opportunities for in-store chefs to become online experts. Google’s experts advise a three-part approach for building a YouTube presence: First, engage an audience with a launch that combines in-store and online promotions. Next, create regular content connecting your customers with your brand. Last, keep building personal connections with filmed in-store events, audience questions, real shopper input and guest appearances.

    Grocerant-Ready Ideas:

    • Menu specials, store events and mini-videos communicated through your email list
    • Video segments featuring “prepared food hacks” on your website
    • In-store event videos, edited for short “how-to” segments
    By Kathy Hayden
    • About Kathy Hayden

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