Tuesday, July 12, 2016 12:16:04 PM

It's no secret that foodies love their kitchen gadgets, but the tool most valued by millennial cooks isn't an immersion blender or handheld electric smoker. Smartphones and tablets are at the heart of culinary life for roughly 59 percent of adults between ages 25 and 34, who love the ease of finding great cooking tips and recipes at a moment's notice.

Millennials are motivated by the thrill of discovering new ingredients, recipes and cooking hacks, and they enjoy the entire process of blending knowledge and creativity to achieve the finished product. Brands that want to connect with home cooks during these "learning" and "doing" moments must understand what millennials search for online and how they use information to expand their culinary range.

Brainstorming

In a recent Ypulse survey, 41 percent of millennials said they frequently search for recipes on websites, and 57 percent tried recipes they found on social media sites. While past generations often stuck to tried-and-true recipes passed down by relatives, millennials use the Internet as a vast digital cookbook filled with passionate testimonials from fellow foodies.

Searches typically begin with broad terms, such as "best chocolate chip cookies," "slow cooker meals" or "best baked mac and cheese," letting cooks curate a collection of resources. In fact, many millennials aren't looking for a strict step-by-step tutorial; they check multiple sources, compare differences and come up with their own new variations. They use mobile technology in the kitchen to inspire others with Instagram photos of finished recipes, and they create Pinterest boards with ideas they want to try. Experimentation is an exicting part of the cooking process, and millennials use a mix of videos, blogs and images to fuel their creativity.

Planning

Millennials use mobile content to bridge skills gaps in the kitchen, especially as they start families. Parenthood motivates many adults to prepare heartier, healthier meals, and the Internet is overflowing with free resources to accommodate every type of diet. In the planning phases, online resources also help home cooks learn or improve skills they didn't inherit from family members, such as butchering meat and poultry or knowing the right cooking temperatures for food safety.

Millennials frequently search for tips on how to prepare specific foods or handle unfamiliar ingredients, making videos a popular source of hands-on visual content. At these times, they are receptive to brands that can offer cooking hacks or product suggestions with unique flavor profiles that differ from the competition.

Cooking

Contrary to expectations, mobile devices aren't cleared away when it's time to start cooking. Most smartphones and tablets support hands-free voice searching, enabling home cooks to look for answers to questions and compare the progress of their meals to online photos without taking attention away from cooking appliances. According to Ypulse, 76 percent of millennials say they enjoy cooking, and 89 percent want to improve their cooking ability.

Making mistakes in the kitchen doesn't deter the average millennial, and about 92 percent say they enjoy the finished product despite errors. Millennials use these error moments to find out what went wrong and learn from it, turning to trusted online resources that provide clear examples or visual proof of how to avoid mistakes and perfect cooking techniques.

Building Brand Awareness With Foodies

Foodies are a diverse and active group who routinely seek out new cooking products and culinary experiences. In the Ypulse survey, respondents cooked an average of 4.9 times per week, providing numerous opportunities to engage with food and restaurant brands. Smart brands can establish themselves as go-to experts by posting content that answers questions, teaches valuable cooking skills and inspires home cooks to experiment in the kitchen.

Supplement informative content with product suggestions for getting the best flavor, color and texture, and provide cooking hacks demonstrating new ways to use familiar products. Local grocery brands can tie in their value proposition through educational content (checking ingredient quality or substituting ingredients) and seasonal content (the best Thanksgiving fixings or 4th of July recipes). Motivate desire to learn while appealing to the appetite by recommending restaurants where foodies can experience the end result of advanced cooking techniques, special ingredients and creative flavor combinations.

The LA Times reaches 1.1 million millennials, and we continually research new ways to increase the editorial impact of our featured culinary content. From innovative spill ads to targeted inserts and digital ads, our content makes restaurants of all sizes stand out in the largest food scene in the country. For help getting your brand in front of a growing foodie audience, contact us today.

Categories: Food, Marketing Tips

Tags: marketing tips, food