With the food and wine trade show season upon us (Expo West, Fancy Food, Gambero Rosso, galore!) we’ll all be walking the shows soon, thinking about our favorite subject, “FOOD, GLORIOUS, FOOD!” and how to reach the hearts, minds and mouths of food lovers. Here are 5 things to know about foodies, and how marketers can connect.

1.Foodies are not as clear cut as vegans, vegetarians, flexitarians, pescatarians, etc. (ie. what they eat or don’t eat functionally). It’s more about emotion and the joy that food experiences bring to their lives everyday. Foodies live to eat vs. eat to live. Many look at eating as joyful, not guilt inducing (“cheat day eating” does not always apply here).
2. Foodies come in different shapes, sizes and mindsets. It’s important to understand the subtleties of who you’re trying to target: There’s the Food Connoisseur (the chef, sommelier, mixologist, cicerone who critiques food and beverage as fine art and lives in a world of epicurean culture), the Food Television loving Foodie, inspired by celebrity chefs who love to recreate the latest TV recipe or cocktail at home, the Restaurant Hopping Foodie who values plate presentation, ambiance and theatre, the Adventurous Globe Trotting Foodie who eats everything from durian in Singapore to frog legs in France (often on location), the Foodie Influencer who is sometimes more obsessed with the perfect photo than the taste of the food itself and the Healthy Foodie who looks to food as a means towards health and fitness. I’m sure I missed a few segments here. Depending on the day, I can be all these stereotypes.
3.Many foodies who are home cooks would love a sous -chef in the kitchen. Even the best cooks and chefs appreciate a little help, especially after two years of non-stop cooking. It could be a sous chef in the form of YouTube Videos, Cooking Blogs, Recipe Apps, etc..
Last week, Fast Company published an excellent piece introducing the concept of “Second Step Cooking” to relieve kitchen fatigue, let go of the labor and time intensive first steps (like varied ingredient shopping and initial prep for condiments). This technique starts with shopping for a base product like quality protein and produce at green markets/specialty supermarkets, to give the cook that “from scratch” energy.”
4. Foodies love learning about ingredients and condiments, in beautifully designed packages. A great example is Jean George’s new Tin Building in South Street Seaport, NYC. The critique from Pete Wells pegged why it seemed “out of this foodie world” to me: the abundance of esoterica.
“The Tin Building does not underestimate its shoppers. Nor does it pander to tourists. Its retail markets upstairs sell about 5,000 products, high-quality staples alongside esoterica that you’ll find in few other places: fresh anchovies or an entire tuna head at the seafood counter; fresh ginger on the stalk in the produce department; sweetbreads and suckling pig at the butcher; jams from Alain Milliat on the left bank of the Rhône at Mercantile; South Korean mugwort vinegar at Mercantile East”. More here from NY Times.

5. Many foodies are trying to balance their lifestyle. From the hundreds of food lovers we’ve talked with in our research over the years, we’ve learned it’s a balancing act to eat for sport and live a healthy lifestyle.
Food and wine pros learn early on to be mindful: sommeliers tasting 12 glasses of wine at a time learn that tasting and drinking are two different things, the spit bucket is their friend!Not so easy at the food trade show when we’re tasting hundreds of different items. It’s key to pace yourself.
Food for Thought:

  • New product development can support aspiring cooks with convenient ways to enhance the flavor of their favorite dishes with premium cooking accessories and exotic condiments and starter sauces.
  • Package branding and design for specialty foods is the first thing that creates desire, make sure you get it right from the get go.
  • Communications can emphasize quality over quantity and moderation in terms of portion and frequency, key to any balanced lifestyle. This will empower foodies to live a long, healthy life.
  • Perhaps even the phrase “foodie” needs a facelift after all these years given how much food culture has evolved? I’m pausing on this. Let’s discuss!

We’d love to help you create what’s next for your brand with part time brand management: business plans, SPINS analysis, new product concepts, names, campaigns, packages, digital designs and more. Think of us as an extended part of your agency or client side team. Please say hello at michelle@joyfulplate.com.
Premise in link below.
Moderating a love affair with food: 10 tips to more mindful eating and drinking
We’re designing a fun, easy to read, practical guide book which we hope sparks the massive conversation happening right now about eating moderately, the sober curious movement and self-care. How do you navigate socializing networking or at the trade show? Please email michelle@joyfulplate.com for a confidential interview or to get involved with this movement!