What Is the Role of Social Media in the Food Industry? A Guide

Festus Otasowie

You would literally have to live under a rock for the past decade to not have seen the shifting face of social media as a marketing and brand tool.

So many would-be entrepreneurs right from those selling pretty iced cupcakes through to the big players in the food industry such as Walmart and McDonalds have all whetted our appetites with tempting Pinterest images and Facebook advertising.

But is this just a passing fad or is social media in catering and hospitality here to stay, and more importantly, what exactly is the role of social media in the food industry?

Before we delve into the delicious details, let’s first start by looking at the mini takeaway so you can understand straight away that social media is important to your new foodie venture.

What is the role of social media in the food industry? Social media is important in creating food trends, bringing specific foodstuffs to the spotlight, such as avocado and Kale for example, while also influencing customers to build brand loyalty. A great social media strategy using platforms like Instagram and Facebook will help grow your food brand.

Now you’ve got the short but definitely sweet answer, so we can understand the role of the socials within all things foodie, let’s first take a look at who is getting tempted by Facebook ads or food Instagram stories.

Role of social media in the food industry quote

What are the demographics in social media and food?

According to recent research, it’s a fascinating insight to look into the age groups who are more influenced by social media.

It seems that 20-24-year-olds could be the perfect target market for food-related social media ads.

This group of Generation Z’s according to a group of 198 respondents in a social media survey are the most influenced by social media marketing, closely followed by their older siblings, the millennials.

This group of young people born after 1997 will very soon represent 40% of buyers and according to experts, food brands have a growing opportunity to reach out to them.

It’s worth noting too that food and drink sit in the top 5 of Generation Z’s top interest.

So although the stereotypes of Gen Zers according to Deloitte, is that they are tech-dependent, and less loyal to brands, it seems that brands are hiking up their social media advertising and are increasingly aware of how important it is to market to Gen Z and for good reason.

So now we know where your food ads should be laser-focused, let’s take a look at how many have harnessed the power of social media ads to influence our food buying and not only that but how it’s actively added to trending foods.

Does social media affect food trends?

With today’s social media landscape, it’s not difficult for many brands to hitch a ride on the social media train whilst hooking up forces with influencers to match ready to take things viral.

In the past decade, we have seen so many foods hitting the big time due to social media awareness.

Bang on food trends such as avocado toasts, vegan meals, Buddha bowls, and high protein, veggie-packed smoothies are all great examples of how social media has an effect on the food we grow to love.,

Examples such as above, are even more important when thinking about the role of social media in the food industry when we realize that they are popular right across the globe because their images and info were shared using platforms such as Instagram and Facebook.

It’s an interesting point to consider, that had avocado toast been popular in the pre-internet era, it may have stayed as a more local dish rather than the iconic worldwide foodie fad that it has become.

We can see a growing number of food and drinks growing in popularity such as spiralized veg, Coconut Water, Kale, Kombucha, and more recently the Asian favorite, Kimchi.

“The likes of celebrity chef, Jamie Oliver has not only gathered huge momentum on his own social media sites to raise awareness of great easy to follow recipes but also created a platform for his wife to come along for the social media foodie ride”

Celebrities and Celebrity Chefs

The likes of celebrity chef, Jamie Oliver has not only gathered huge momentum on his own social media sites to raise awareness of great easy to follow recipes but also created a platform for his wife to come along for the social media foodie ride, launching her own food ideas and family recipes.

Other celebrities such as Gwyneth Paltrow and sports stars like Kobe Bryant helped you kick off a trend for healthy products, fresh ingredients, and superfoods such as Kale.


Foodie influencers also help the social media food train to gather momentum. Their obvious love and passion for food can help skyrocket brands, restaurants, and food items such as artisan bread, for example.


Those smaller influencers who usually can command between 5,000 to 25,000 fans are becoming more and more valuable to retailers and anyone with a product to sell, as micro-influencers become crucial in establishing food trends using social media to influence their fans and followers.

The reason micro-influencers can be so useful when looking at the impact on social media within the food industry is they are people like you and me, who have more power in creating new food trends than maybe a celebrity who lives in a different world to the everyday person.

So now we’ve seen the importance of social media, you might be wondering how best you can get your new brand in the social media spotlight.

Let’s find out some ways below…

The key to keeping your customer’s attention in an ever-increasingly more saturated market is to make sure you’re swapping their invested time for something worthwhile.

Your social media strategies should focus on giving your audience value above all else

So here are five social media strategies that every food brand needs to incorporate as part of product marketing strategy.

role of social media in the food industry

In the past decade, we have seen so many foods hitting the big time due to social media awareness

Tell a story

According to some thought-provoking research by

Headstream, if people love a brand story, 55% are more likely to buy the product in the future, 44% will share the story, and 15% will buy the product immediately.

So it’s easy to see why storytelling is one of the most powerful ways to get your food products and brands out in the global marketplace.

Be Visual

According to those in the know, When quizzed 10 days later, a visitor to a social media post is only likely to remember 10% of the words he or she actually reads, but intriguingly, if you add an image to the words, the percentage jumps up to a significant 65% increase once a visual image is added.

This clearly shows the importance of social media in increasing engagement and it’s a significant role where a great social media marketing strategy can lead to building a loyal following

Different social media plaforms offer different opportunities for food industries

Be consistent

For your foodie social media marketing to have the most impact, make sure your post regularly.

A great way to make sure this happens is by preparing a content calendar with images with a particular topic outline for each day of the week,

This works best if you can create it several weeks or months ahead. Also, make sure your calendar ensures your organized social calendar has all the relevant hashtags.

Summary: What Is the Role of Social Media in the Food Industry?

So that’s the definitive answer on the important role that social media such as Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter brings.

This can help to elevate any food business, from a home baker batch baking organic brownies through to large grocery stores, armed with a group of best influencers to turn your new or existing foody business into the next big trend.

You may also be interested in how to complement your business can benefit from cost-effective ecommerce solutions and manage your customer communications with email marketing

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