Segmenting Foodie Trend Followers through Audience Intelligence

Segmenting Foodie Trend Followers through Audience Intelligence

March 15, 2023

A couple of weeks ago, we dove into analyzing a recent TikTok trend and dug into the annual Pinterest Trend Report. This week, we would like to dive into Facebook’s 2023 Trend Analysis report. Although these types of annual reports provide valuable insights into consumer behaviors and preferences on specific platforms, we at Affinio are on a mission to validate whether these trends can be considered ubiquitous or just “channel-native” in nature.

We hypothesize that predictions from any social channel are likely to be signals of general societal shifts, and if so, should be verifiable on any other social network. Twitter, as one of the few networks whose data enables true passion-based segmentation and insights, should therefore be the go-to destination when needing an audience-first approach to dissecting trends.

Enter Affinio. 

Using the power of graph analytics and AI via Affinio’s proprietary platform, we will dive into one of the trends on Facebook’s 2023 report — ‘Diners Without Borders’ — and benchmark its results against Twitter to gain a deeper understanding of the audience around this trend, its passions and affinities and much more. 

Why Trend Analysis Is Integral for CPG Marketing

If you’re looking to identify consumer preferences, trend analysis is one of the best ways to uncover emerging consumer preferences and behaviors. By tracking trends in consumer behavior, you can gain insights into what your target audience is interested in and tailor your marketing strategies accordingly. 

Doing so helps you predict future demand, which of course has risks, which is why it’s imperative for marketers to not only analyze trends holistically but to benchmark this analysis against other platforms to validate or extrapolate deeper insights.

The goal is to anticipate changes in demand and adjust marketing strategies to meet those changes — but without a full picture, it could waste money and fall flat. 

Even Google has made the mistake of predicting trends that never took off. Two products come to mind. One is Google Wave. This was a collaboration platform that was launched in 2009. Marketers predicted that it would revolutionize the way people collaborated and communicated online. However, the platform was too complex for most users and failed to gain traction, leading Google to shut it down in 2012. 

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Similarly, Google Glass was touted as the future of wearable technology when it was first announced in 2012. Marketers predicted that the device would revolutionize the way people interacted with technology and that it would become a mainstream consumer product. Unfortunately, the device failed to gain widespread adoption due to its high price, limited functionality, and privacy concerns.

Trend analysis done right avoids these pitfalls. It helps you stay ahead of the competition, create more effective campaigns, and improve ROI. Without it, you could end up like Google Wave or Google Glass and enter the marketplace without a snowball’s chance in Hades.

‘Diners Without Borders’ Trend Analysis—Done Right—With Affinio

Facebook’s Trend Report category, Diners Without Borders, is nested under its Exploratory Identities section. The report defines the Diners category as those who desire to deepen their understanding of other cultures. 

“For 40% of global respondents, food is an increasingly powerful pathway. And these culinary adventures are having a profound impact: 43% of people say exploring foods from other cultures has actually shaped their worldview,” notes the report’s findings.

In addition, these online culinary conversations note some very specific foodie interests, such as: 

  • Nacatamal (a type of Nicaraguan and Honduran tamale)
  • Cholado (a fruity Colombian dessert beverage)
  • Khachapuri (Georgian cheese bread)
  • Fatayer (a Middle Eastern hand pie)
  • American Snickers salad
  • French Quenelle (a three-sided scoop of soft or poached food)
  • Ethiopian Injera (a pancake-like flatbread eaten as a staple)

The report defines the demographics of this trend as leaning toward Millennial-aged individuals who follow Creator-like or Influencer-type personas. “Creators will continue to gain clout as we enter a creator renaissance—especially with 37% of people saying they follow a food content creator to discover new recipes and cuisines,” the report concludes.

When we dive into Affinio’s reporting, we can validate this, and even extrapolate a more detailed view of the audience personas, and their other non-food interests. We defined the Affinio audience as those mentioning the foods above (in addition to “camel milk”, “egg coffee”, and “stinky tofu”) in the period from Feb 13-Mar 13. 

The audience was comprised of (7) total clusters: 

BLM Females [27%]; Animation (Pizza Tower) [18%]; Hoopheads [18%]; K-pop Fangirls [11%]; Wizkid & Footballer Fans [9%]; French News [9%]; and Alum Life & BMF Fans [9%]. 

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As Facebook notes, the age demographics are Millennial but our research showed these adventurous eaters skewed even younger too given 90% overall were aged 18-34. They were quite evenly split by gender.

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When we dig deeper, the ‘Diners Without Borders’ audience has all different types of affinities beyond their love of international palettes. For instance, there’s a lot of crossover with BlackLivesMatter or BLM support and food security activism (with interests like the UN World Food Programme and World Central Kitchen). In terms of locales, despite being global, the majority of the audience was US-based, with a strong focus in NY, Atlanta, Houston, Chicago, and Los Angeles.

The discussion around “Snickers Salad”, in particular, seemed to have a stronger affinity among Americans where it was typically attributed as a Midwest creation. 

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Generally speaking, these trending foods and beverages are discussed in the context of having pride in trying them, fostering evangelism for them (including their health benefits), or recognizing the cultural connection they bring.

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One cluster that really stood out for its food passion was the ‘Wizkid & Footballer Fans’ group comprising 9% of the audience and who also tended to follow Insider Food. It’s no surprise that this rather global cluster shows football (soccer) affinities given that’s one of the most popular games in the world. This cluster is most differentiated for its references to “Fatayer.” There was a strong Nigerian contingency among the cluster, which explains the Wizkid fandom connection, given this Afrobeats artist originates from there. 

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In conclusion, following trends help marketers and product developers know what to plan for next to grow their markets. When it comes to trending food, recipes, ingredients, and flavors, CPG brands always want to get on the bandwagon early to be first-to-market with products that cater to these new or evolving palettes. 

Using insights like those from Affinio can help CPG teams know when to run towards a food trend or when to hide, by being able to uncover and size the applicable segments, understand their personas, and assess the context and situations when they make these food choices. Not to mention, these same insights can inspire the terms and images used on packaging and the media plan adopted for promotions — if a decision is made to launch.


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