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There's a sophisticated mainstream consumer group that's growing in numbers. They care about where their food comes from, they're shopping local, they're asking questions, and they're influencing the next generation. They're called Food eVangelists.
New research from Ketchum's fourth Global Food 2020 Study released earlier this year, suggests this once niche group of consumers now accounts for almost a quarter of all mainstream consumers, at 24% (up 14% since 2013).
What is a Food eVangelist?
A Food eVangelist is someone who talks about food, whether for interest or for work, realises their shopping habits both offline and online, and informs themselves as well as shares information through various media outlets, especially through social media networks like Facebook.
“Food eVangelists are becoming a mainstream, dominant market force, exacting marked change on the way the food industry operates and communicates, and we predict they will become the ‘new normal’ among consumers,” said Linda Eatherton, partner and managing director of Ketchum’s Global Food & Beverage Practice. “While Food eVangelists have a desire to influence others, it’s important to remember that they don’t promote a specific agenda. Rather they seek information from multiple sources, listen to varying opinions, and make their own decisions.”
Food eVangelists take an active interest in food products, brands and agricultural practices. They don't just care about taste, quality or the novelty of a food product, they want to know where it came from and who was involved in supplying the food product. You're more than likely to find them chatting to producers and shopping at your local famer's market.
Source: Ketchum Report 2020
The growing trend in Food eVangelists has seen an increase across the board with Italy increasing a huge 43%, and the USA with an above average 14% increase. Just one surprising downturn is recorded, in the UK, with a 17% decrease.
Food eVangelists start early
Food eVangelist's children are equally curious about food. Nearly half (49%), of Food eVangelist's children care about where their food comes from and take an active part in decision making when it comes to food shopping, with a whopping 33% actively 'shunning food with certain ingredients'.
Over a third, 39%, of respondents say that their children already read labels and avoid unhealthy considered ingredients: 26% also would run away from too much processed foods or certain ingredients.
So does this mean their children don't yield so easily to snacks and fast food? Not really: 3/4 of parents admit that children do not always avoid processed foods. Perhaps the awareness, as it should be, does not always translate immediately in behaviour. But even this is just a 'phase of change', says Patrizia Martello at Ketchum.
Keeping it Local
The research also reveals another interesting preference: the predilection for local food.
Local = Healthy= Premium: is the new equation that began with Food evangelists and is gathering momentum in the rest of the population.
Almost half of respondents (49%) globally have more confidence in local stores rather than supermarkets, with 47% of respondents saying that what you buy from small producers is safer than what comes from larger industrial producers.
Are you a food eVangelist? or do you recognise the traits?
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