Fast Food Trends in 2018: Where Does Social Media Fit In?
The food industry is fast-moving when it comes to responding to consumer preferences. Social media allows information to be shared instantly to millions of people. It’s an opportunity for the food industry to listen and engage with consumers.
In the article “How to Use Social Media as a Test Kitchen for Your Brand,” QSR Magazine social media turned sweet tea-loving guests of McAlister’s Deli into fans of a new green tea option. McAlister’s asked the question, “Who’s talking about green tea and what are they saying?” to determine trends and preferences. They discovered that flavored green tea was more popular on social media. Consumer feedback allowed the company to create a niche flavor that would represent theirbrand and resonate with tea drinkers.
Food companies leveraging social media gain feedback on menu changes and implement contests to create winning flavors, while social shares of aesthetically-pleasing meals give personal insight into where food trends are heading.
So, what trends can we expect to see in fast-food in Q3 and Q4 of 2018?
The shift toward healthy eating options is no surprise when you look at the growth rate in the organic and plant-based sectors. A hashtag search of #whatveganseat turns up 9.5 Million posts.
Exotic flavors are finding their way into beverages. Bold colors and interesting ingredients are moving from your local bar to fast casual dining menus. Pink pineapple could take the place of orange juice on breakfast menus.
Technology will continue to make dining out and grab-n-go options quick with order ahead apps to avoid lunchtime lines.
A Surprising Trend: Food & Social Media
The demand is growing for Instagram-worthy food to keep social media feeds active and consumers engaged. Social media has allowed us to keep up with changing eating trends and meet the need with innovative solutions. Open kitchen layouts, chef’s table seating, local options, and healthy choices are great features for quick-serve and fast-casual restaurants to showcase on their social media feeds.
In fact, social media grew the popularity of turmeric (#turmeric 600k), matcha (#matcha 3M), and beets (#beets 600k) in 2017, according to Denise Purcell from Specialty Food News. Foods that combine an intense visual appeal and fit into the wellness lifestyle are increasingly popular on Instagram.
But that’s just part of the story. Social media can be a double-edged sword. Numerous food recalls have already occurred this year. What will the impact of food safety issues be across social media platforms? Is your business ready to respond to a recall? Earlier this year a voluntary recall by Mann Packing Company was handled in a way that resonated with many on social media. Gina Nucci, Director of Corporate Marketing, released this statement:
“As an owner of this company and as a mom, providing safe and healthy foods to our consumers and their families is always our top priority. This voluntary recall is a reflection of our commitment to ensuring the safety of our consumers.”
By using a combination of social media, community outreach and public relations, you can create a culture of transparency for your brand. Having a food safety culture should be a top trend for all food businesses, as food safety is key to your success and consumer trust.
At FoodlogiQ, we believe that a culture of transparency should include food safety. If your business is creating a community around your food product, ensuring the safety of the product will keep your consumers happy and sharing those INSTA pics. FoodlogiQ provides quality information and supply chain visibility that allows you to maintain food safety and quality standards for your business.