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Marketers need to focus on experiences created around food, new study suggests

Marketers need to think more about memories and experiences, rather than focusing on traditional holidays and food lines, a new study co-commissioned by Nine and Carat has revealed.

The latest study suggests marketers are missing out on opportunities to reach audiences by focusing on traditional holidays rather than more regular family events.

Conducted by Hoop Research Group, the study included more than 1000 respondents who participated in online surveys, mobile vox pops and in-home interviews.

The study found marketers were missing the mark in their strategies, with more than 70% of respondents eating a home cooked meal within 24 hours, and 86% believing family dinner tradition remains as important as ever.

Other results found food and beverage marketers were too focused on traditional Christmas and Easter holidays.

Marketers need to look to other celebrations where they can invest media spend.

Majority of respondents (90%) said birthdays outranked Christmas in terms of relevance to food (87%), followed by anniversaries (72%) and Easter (65%).

There has also been a 16% lift in food from other cultures, and one in two Australians will bring gifts when they are invited over.

Mel Mullins, director of strategy and experience at 9Powered said the marketers needed to start thinking about memories as much as meals.

“Our research clearly shows the family dinner is still as important as ever, and also that any day can be a real occasion.

“This represents a real opportunity for marketers to target their campaigns and emphasise the power of the real connection that is achieved over shared family meals.”

Mullins said the research presents a opportunities for marketers to target consumers in different ways.

Liz Farquharson, founding partner at Hoop Group added: “Consumers are more and more prepared to invest in these occasions to entertain with both money and time. 91% are happy to splurge on the cost of food for special occasions, 88% like to make something special for when their guests come over, and nearly half of us are entertaining monthly.”

Carat’s head of insights, Christine McKinnon said the results showed food as an official “passion and pillar of identity” and a “platform for consumer engagement.” “Across all consumer-driven categories, we are seeing a significant shift in spending away from goods to experiences.

The four key trends outlined in the study.

“In-home occasion-driven food experiences – such as ‘in-tertaining’, a return to childhood or cultural traditions, or a more pronounced emphasis on celebrations – are a big part of this.”

Another valuable insight was more than 80% of respondents are interested in the story behind food, with 72% of those surveyed eating only from sustainable resource, and 81% reporting their purchase decisions were influenced by what produce is in season.

With 85% of Australians motivated by health reasons for eating food, low sugar messaging has overtaken low fat messages, and up to 18% of home cooks are accomodating food allergies.

Despite the desire to eat fresh food, the results indicated one in two Australians cook meals in advance and freeze them, while one in three are defrosting something from the freezer every day.

Mullins said marketers should look to all occasions of the day to market their products, build connections with consumers through experiences, and move the focus from food inspiration to planning inspiration.

“Whether that be inspiring people to turn off technology and really connect over the table or whether that’s just simply giving them games and family fun to play at the table, there’s a real opportunity for (marketers) to move away from focusing on meals, to the connection consumers really crave over those meals.”

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