Before social media and smartphones took over, independent food businesses relied largely on word-of-mouth buzz, walk-in traffic, and print media reviews. The digital age, however, has shifted the way consumers access information, decide where to shop, both in person and online, and how they interact with food brands of all sizes.
Small, local food merchants have a lot to gain from this. Low-quality vendors with huge budgets may still be able to get a lot of business simply because they can pay rent across from the bus station, but now the smaller artisanal bakeries operating from their homes can keep up with them. By using the right media marketing and branding approach, everyone can have a piece of the pie (sorry—the pun was too good to resist)!
We have collected a list of marketing strategies and forecasted buying trends to help you start jumpstart your 2022 food marketing initiatives.
Most people point to social media as one of the best ways to generate business, and for good reason. According to recent figures published by the National Restaurant Association, more than 90% of restaurateurs believe social media marketing is crucial to their success and over 95% are already using Facebook or intend to do so shortly. This is not surprising, either, since 28% of consumers decide where to eat based on what they find or see on social media. While email marketing isn’t considered “social marketing” per say, it should absolutely be included in your marketing mix.
So, in 2022, commit to either jumping into social media, trying a new platform, or just ramping up your social posts and engagement with your audience.
Establishing authority through sharing expertise is the goal of content marketing. Publish more helpful content about your food sub-niche, and Google will rank you higher for relevant keywords. As long as you write original, dynamic content tailored to your intended audience's interests, readers will share it with their peers and come back for more.
Don't wait until your web pages are indexed, since it can take a while. Start your blog right now! Not sure what to write about? You can begin by writing about your favourite product tips or tricks, an upcoming event, or check out what your competitors are writing about to get inspiration.
Then make sure you promote your website and blog content via social posts, email campaigns, in your shop with signage and good old-fashioned word of mouth. “Have you read our latest blog about XYZ?” It’s as easy as that!
Your website might already be used for eCommerce, depending on the type of food product you sell. This is essential if your delicious goods are already packaged up and can be easily shipped.
Even if your product must be served within minutes of preparation, online ordering still has the potential to boost your sales! Electronic payment options and easy-to-use digital self-service ordering are highly desirable for both restaurateurs and consumers, according to several studies.
Make it easy for your customers to know that you offer online ordering, don’t assume they will find out on their own. Signage, calls-to-action on your website pages, social mentions and dedicated email blasts are great ways to let them know you have easy ways for them to pay you.
Consumer demand is always changing, but here is what industry experts are forecasting for the upcoming year—which ones will you incorporate into your next menu?
Coping with the effects of COVID-19: During the pandemic, a heightened awareness of the gut-lung axis has created opportunities for food and beverage products that promote respiratory health, and a better immune system supports. This includes foods rich in probiotics, antioxidants and ingredients that have anti-inflammatory properties.
Reducetarianism: These are people who are plant-curious eaters that are not entirely ready to give up meat for good. Reducetarians often choose to go for premium options on the menu, such as grass-fed beef, and pasture-raised eggs. How can you take part in this trend?
Better grains for a better world: Grains such as corn can deplete soil if they're not maintained properly, so people are now choosing to eat organic or responsibly grown grains with a focus on putting their money into industries helping the earth, not damaging it.
Bubbles with purpose: What if fizzy drinks were tasty and good for you? Besides adding a little sparkle to your palate, in 2022 bubbly beverages are expected to pull double duty—think probiotic sodas and tonics with vitamins and botanicals. Um, yes, please!
Mushroom mania: The past few years mushrooms have made a huge impact across a wide range of industries — from coffee and snacks to environmentally-friendly building supplies and vegan leather, and it’s only going up from here. Watch for the shroom boom in 2022!
Times are changing and is your business prepared to take the plunge? If you need support, consult the experts at REES + STAGER INC.