Sometime in December, New York Times food writer Alison Roman published a new recipe for Spiced Chickpea Stew with coconut & turmeric. By late January, it had gone viral on Instagram, gaining millions of fans who gave the recipe it’s own hashtag: #TheStew. What made people want to try this recipe and share this post? It’s easy to make, hard to mess up, uses ingredients that people have in their pantry or are easy to find in any grocery store and it looks pretty.
But we can find a deeper meaning behind this. It turns out millennials are growing up and staying in more. For years, we’ve been told we those millennials that we thought were eating out all of the time are settling down, having kids, and looking to cook for their families. They want to create restaurant-quality dishes at home that are healthy, easy, and relatively quick.
That’s good news for the grocery industry.
Social media has transformed the once solo activity of home cooking into a social experience, shared with friends via Instagram pictures and Facebook posts. When a user sees a friend tried a recipe and recommends it, they’re more likely to try it themselves. It’s the church cookbook of the digital age.
As the local grocer, how you can help this new generation of homecooks enjoy their new hobby/way of life? Share simple and tasty recipes you make at home (take pictures!) on social media. You can even print them off and place them near the products in-store. Encourage customers to tag your store in pictures of their home-cooked meals. Comment on their posts and reply to the comments you receive. Talk to them in-store. Ask them about what they’re cooking, what else they’d like to see in store. Building those relationships builds brand loyalty. And as the social generation, they’ll tell all their internet friends about how much they love you and your store.