What Defines a Foodie Besides the Food?

 In Blog

Sometimes it seems that we’re living in a gastronomic golden age. From the freshest produce at your local farmers’ market to endless food content on YouTube or celebration of the art of high-end cuisine in shows like Netflix’s Chef’s Table, food is entertainment now. But some people don’t just write the occasional restaurant review on Yelp or share a recipe video on Facebook. But the real foodies make more of a lifestyle out of it.

We wanted to get a better idea of what sort of customer journey food lovers take when they’re not browsing food publications. Similar to other investigations into specific groups (like pet owners) our study indexes foodies against the general population. Considering Q1 data, a foodie was defined as someone who read at least 10 food-related articles across a group of 5 to 6 food publications.

We then used Q1 data from Jumpshot’s 100-million-device panel to look at the digital behaviors and actions that a high percentage of foodies exhibited: what Google searches they ran, categories of products in which they made Amazon purchases, and video they viewed on YouTube. This allowed us to get a clear picture of how much more likely a foodie was to take a certain action (i.e. purchase a yoga mat) compared with a member of the general population over the same period.

You Are What You Buy: Amazon Purchases

One of the highest over-indexing categories on Amazon for foodies was Women’s Running Shoes. This means a foodie was nearly 26x (2593%) more likely to make this type of purchase on Amazon than a member of the general population during the first quarter. They’re also 18.5x more likely to buy sports water bottles and 25x more likely to get a yoga mat.

On Amazon, foodies predictably purchased Kindle cookbooks and food storage items. They also tended to be:

  • Readers.
    • They’re 4x more likely to make a “Literature & Fiction” purchase in Kindle eBooks
  • Family-focused
    • 17.5x more likely to purchase parenting books and board games
    • 20x more likely to invest in puzzles
  • Beauty conscious
    • 25x more likely to buy face cleanser
    • 20x more likely to spring for body butter or facial moisturizer

The Buzzfeed/Bon Appetit Split: YouTube Views

Foodies watched food-related videos on YouTube. They were…

  • 13x more likely to watch Buzzfeed videos: Worth It episodes $2 Bacon Vs. $100 Bacon and $1 Bagel vs. $1,000 Bagel;  Ramen Chef Reviews Instant Ramen
  • 16x more likely to watch Bon Appetit videos: Kids Try 100 Years of the Most Expensive Foods and Pastry Chef Attempts To Make Gourmet Cheetos

Slightly lower over indexing numbers (<20x) here may indicate an age split between Buzzfeed and Bon Appetit web-content consumers.  

As Al Roker said when introducing the Worth It team on the Today Show, “Now, if you’re over 25, chances are you’ve never even heard of them.”

Fair enough, and if you’re 25 and under, you might not know who Al Roker is.

What Foodies Want: Google Searches

“Grubhub”, “instant pot”, and “instant pot recipes” are no-brainer foodie searches; however, our foodies were also figure skating fans.

They were 22x more likely to search for “adam rippon”, “nathan chen,” and “mirai nagasu.” Yes, the Winter Olympics did take place during the first quarter, but these data could also support an aforementioned foodie interest in physical activity and sports.

Other search standouts for food lovers included the following:

  • 22x more likely to shop at Zappos, William Sonoma, Pottery Barn
  • 28x more likely to at least browse online at Whole Foods and Trader Joes

Making Sense of Emergent Patterns

It’s easy to see that these committed consumers of online media are committed online shoppers. The Amazon purchases reveal an emphasis on women’s, family, beauty products, and even dog products, an indication that this cohort could be female dominated, or mom dominated.

Our study conjures potential pictures of foodie browsing journeys. We can imagine a woman shopping online for their pet and human family members and then completing her digital journey by vegging out on Bon Appetit gourmet junk food videos.

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