Moms Are Clicking In The Kitchen
By Elise Titan, Senior VP, Food & Beverage specialty, MSLGROUP
“What are you making for dinner?” No, this isn’t my hungry child asking me what I’m preparing. It is my Facebook post on a Thursday afternoon asking my friends for suggestions on what to serve at the dinner table that night.
This is pretty typical behavior for moms these days considering women with kids under the age of 13, like me, are spending more time on social networking sites (18.4 hours) than women with kids over 13 (15.2 hours) or women without kids (14 hrs). Moms in general also read or browse posts contributed by others on social network sites or tools such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or MySpace more than other women (moms 44%, total female 41%).
For Moms, Dinner Help is Only a Click Away
A recent study titled ‘Clicks & Cravings: Impact of Social Technology on Food Culture,’ developed jointly by MSLGROUP and The Hartman Group research firm, looked at how these networking moms are using social sites. The study showed that moms are more likely than non-moms to use social media while preparing meals (40% vs. 30%). In fact, almost 60% of moms (vs. 48% of non-moms) search online for a recipe or food preparation tips. Almost half (47%) of moms also texted a friend or family member for cooking ideas.
What are those moms most often seeking?
• Quick and easy meals (77%)
• Low-cost meals (55%)
• Health and nutritious meals (46%)
Not surprisingly, Millennial moms lead the charge on utilizing social media for meal planning and other food-related information. The study shows that Millennial moms are the most interested in leveraging online networks and resources when it comes to food — meal planning, new restaurants to try, learning about new foods or nutrition.
I remember my mother’s kitchen having a shelf filled with cookbooks. According to the study, those kitchen shelves are more likely to house a laptop these days. Moms spend more time engaged online looking at resources to learn about food (48%) than they do looking at offline sources like cookbooks and magazines (16%). In addition to recipes, moms browse restaurant reviews (15%) and food blogs (16%) online.
My love of online recipe inspiration derives from my need for personalization — I like to compare several recipes for the same dish so I can borrow a little from each to concoct my “own” creation based on what my family prefers and, frankly, what’s in my pantry. Plus, you can usually find more visuals of what the outcome is supposed to look like.
One of my personal favorite sites seems to be a hit with others too. Almost two-thirds of moms who took the survey visited Allrecipes.com for meal inspiration. Foodnetwork.com (52% of moms) and Recipes.com (45% of moms) followed closely. I’ve also found that Facebook pages of food and food-related products, like Dawn Dish Soap and Cascade Dishwasher Detergent, incorporate recipes or simple cooking tips into their social media pages that can be really helpful.
The use of online sources for food prep seems to be a natural extension of the move into modern motherhood. This milestone is an important impetus for women to post reviews, share photos and exchange ideas in online discussions. This also coincides with women becoming contributors to the conversation. Once in the mom mix, you are keenly aware of how other new or soon-to-be moms are anxious and thirsty for information. In your maternal role, you are happy to impart your knowledge to your new sisterhood of mothers. This opens you up to the concept of sharing information. The sharing then goes beyond baby talk and moves into the food realm, a natural progression as feeding your new baby is kind of important.
In fact, our ‘Clicks & Cravings’ study found that moms are more likely to contribute a product review to sites like Amazon and Yelp than women with no children (moms 23% vs. total females 18%). When building communications programs to reach moms, it is essential to give them a forum for discussion and contribution rather than talk at them.
While moms are less likely to share photos of meals and restaurant descriptions, maybe because they don’t get out as much, they are more likely than women without children to describe a home-prepared meal or snack to their friends, or request advice about what food to prepare and how to prepare it, hence my ‘What are you making for dinner?” post. In answer to my question, I received several ideas that included personal recommendations and links. So I combined a few different recipes and served up a quick and easy creamy chicken risotto.
Elise Titan is a senior vice president in the Food & Beverage specialty group at MSLGROUP in New York. She has spearheaded award-winning programs aimed at helping women make smart choices for themselves and their families, from eating right and maintaining a healthy lifestyle to purchasing products that make everyday life easier and more balanced.
Originally posted on MSLWorldwide.com.