Trend Perspectives by Cynthia Maxwell

In 2019 the influencer marketing industry was worth $8 billion with the expectation to grow to $15 billion by 2022, according to Business Insider. With these stats, food influencers remain of great importance when marketing food and beverage.

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Contrary to what most initially think, food influencers are not always famous people—despite kale and coconut water sales increasing after Gwyneth Paltrow talked about them on social media. Enter the Tik Tok evolution, with over 15 billion food posts! Now we are starting to see food and beverage posts by the more unknown consumers who are topping trend lists globally.

Who will be the food influencers of the future, and what will they mean to the food and beverage market? Here are some thoughts:

CHEFS

From the stats above, we know food influencers are an essential part of marketing food and beverage products.

As we came to the end of 2020, we saw how famous chefs became part of the food influencer culture in a big way. Chefs started to do online cooking classes to promote themselves, their restaurants, and financial support due to restaurant closings and shutdowns. Influential chefs are not new, per the success of The Food Network, but as cooking competitions and food road trips are common, personalized home cooking lessons by a famous chef are new and refreshing. Expect chef's influence to gain even more traction with virtual cooking classes trending.

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Last year, cookbook sales increased by 145% because we were cooking at home more. I have desired old-school paper and book recipes because I am seriously tired of looking at my mobile devices. So chefs? Yes—they start food trends! Chefs are where I learned about the Moroccan spice Ras el Hanout.

BLOGGERS / TIK TOKERS / INSTAGRAMMERS

Have you made the 2020 hit recipe Baked Feta Pasta yet? Why was it such a big deal when we have had baked ziti and lasagna forever? Finnish food blogger Jenni Hayrinen posted it in her food blog, and it became a massive hit in Finland, then made its way to Tik Tok, and then became viral in the United States and around the world. All of a sudden, a pasta and cheese recipe became big. It is that simple; the power of food on social media is extreme. #foodie is still one of the top hashtags. You don't have to be famous to make a food trends famous. Micro-influencers with between 5k and 25K followers can quickly start worldwide food trends, and companies are watching.

WELLNESS GURUS

Pretty much all future consumer trends include health and wellness. Consumers are continually curious about this market, especially in the food and beverage arena. Wellness gurus from all over the world will continue to influence food trends. Dr. Axe provides 13 Health and Wellness trends for 2021, including "Fermented Everything" and "A Bigger Year for CBD," with food and beverages called out under both directions.

Not every food and beverage company will collaborate with a big name to promote a product, and they don't always have to. We help them every time we take a picture and post our food. Hence a lot of us take on the role of a food influencer. As I briefly touched on some of the key food influencers and their impact, it is apparent that they will continue to play a pivotal role in the future of the food and beverage industry.

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