Is Your Food Content Marketing Serving Up What Home Cooks Crave?

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If you’ve spent any time with foodie pins on Pinterest, you’d think all home cooks want are more recipes featuring cauliflower (because kale is so 2015). But if you look past trends — and at actual behavior — you’ll see that the majority of home cooks are hungry for more tried-and-true dishes. And that’s what food content marketers should consider whipping up more of.

To learn more about recipe content consumption, let’s explore what we know is happening on allrecipes.com, the world’s most popular English-language food site. While Hawaiian poke is currently having its moment and launching at least one fast casual restaurant chain, this “popular” meal only appears three times on allrecipes.com.

The buzz surrounding poke is a great example of the gulf between what foodies post and what everyone else makes. Clicking into Allrecipe’s Hall of Fame section — home to their highest-rated recipes — you’ll see this top 10:

  • Pancakes
  • Chocolate chip cookies   
  • Lasagna
  • Banana bread
  • Banana crumb muffins
  • Ham-and-potato soup
  • Blueberry muffins
  • Chicken pot pie
  • Pot roast
  • Broiled tilapia

As the below list shows, there’s much crossover between the Allrecipes hall of famers and Google’s most popular web searches from last year:

  • Chocolate chip cookies
  • Banana bread
  • Meatloaf
  • Pancakes
  • Lasagna
  • Mac-and-cheese
  • Hamburgers
  • Chili
  • Margaritas
  • Baked pork chops

Curious to see how closely aligned a CPG brand is with both trends and customer preference, I searched KraftRecipes.com for a few trendy favorites as well as standard bearers. Though somewhat well positioned for food trendsters [132 cauliflower recipes], Kraft Recipes really leans into lasagna [151 recipes]. While its commitment to pancakes and banana bread is robust [69 and 48 recipes respectively], the amount of chocolate chip cookie recipes — Google’s #1 food search — is particularly low [12 recipes, if you count generic cookie sandwiches].

kraft

A lot of these chocolate chip cookie recipes aren’t for chocolate chip cookies.

Comparatively, I conducted the same searches to see what a hip brand like Whole Foods Market has published. Surprisingly, they don’t have any poke recipes either. They also have more recipes for pancakes [45] than cauliflower [39], which I didn’t expect. Their back catalog of recipes isn’t as deep as Kraft’s, but Whole Foods could probably stand to boost their inventory of chocolate chip cookie [7], lasagna [13] and banana bread [8] recipes.

On a lark, I looked for Google’s #7 search — hamburgers — and discovered something interesting. If you type “hamburgers” Whole Foods’ search engine returns zero recipes, if you type “hamburger” their search engine returns 2 recipes and if you type “burger” their search engine returns 68 recipes. Kraft Recipes has the same issue, but not to the same extent [236 vs. 1077 vs. 153]. The lesson here: it’s not just important to have the right content, it’s also critical to make it discoverable.

wf

There are way more hamburger recipes than this search shows.

So just how far off are the 2016 trends from mainstream interest? Michael Whiteman, a food forecaster with close to 40 years of experience, predicted in December what we’d all be eating more of this year:

  • Nashville hot fried chicken
  • Fermented foods like kimchi
  • Savory ice creams/gelatos/yogurts
  • “Flavored” hummus
  • Pizza with unusual toppings
  • “Free from” foods with no additives
  • Seaweed-flavored popcorn
  • Jerky

Compare these with the lists above and you’ll see the danger inherent in scrambling to chase trends. By the time food content marketers — and their test kitchens — have perfected the perfect “everything bagel-spiced” hummus, those with the greatest interest will have already moved on to the next thing (which, incidentally, could be something like acai bowls).

Our advice: be mindful of what the majority of home cooks actually want and avoid skewing your content output to what you see on Pinterest, Instagram or Tumblr. While it’s smart to work in some contemporary favorites, they won’t pay the long-term dividends of a 15-year-old lasagna recipe (which last year alone racked up 6 million views for Allrecipes).

For more recipe insights, best practices and a Q&A with Tastemade’s Oren Katzeff, click here to download OneSpot’s “2016 State of Food Content Marketing Report.”