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Hey food industry marketers — are you truly capitalizing on ‘Hibernating Households’?

Photos by Kelli Clifford

Photos by Kelli Clifford

Recently, winter weather across the U.S. has been extreme.  And when snow, ice and subzero temps hit, a lot of people are homebound…sometimes for days.

But rather than focus on the negative effects, let’s think about these “Hibernating Households” from a positive (marketing-minded) viewpoint.

Hibernating households want something to do — great news for Netflix and other instant home entertainment services.

Hibernating households need food. Particularly meals that can be made with what’s on hand and with a little luck, still offer their palates some variety – this presents a great opportunity for food marketers like you.

Based on recent findings from Erickson Research’s Food & Beverage Trends Study, it’s likely that many consumers could use your help when the weather puts a wrench in their food/meal prep behaviors.

Here’s why…

  • Less than 50% of consumers claim they…
    • keep cooking staples on hand
    • have ‘standby’ meals they prepare often
  • Over 60% believe they’re not able to whip up a meal in a moment’s notice
  • Typically, about 75% do not plan their meals for the week

So, when these consumers are feeling frazzled (trying to stock up smartly, before the storm hits) or bored and hungry (stuck at home in the aftermath)…what are you doing to help them out?

In other words, how can you tailor your consumer communications to be more timely and relevant?

Here are some ideas:

  1. Create a list of “stock-up” food items they should always have on hand
  2. Offer both healthy and indulgent meal ideas (including one-pot preparation) using stock-up items
  3. Feature recipes that are customized to fit typical household sizes (i.e. individual, two people, four to six people) or household compositions (i.e. adults, kids, teens or combinations)
  4. Suggest ingredient or recipe “substitutes” (i.e. what if eggs and milk are not available?)
  5. Showcase recipes that are fun to make — include a ‘challenge’ or game-like activity for households with 2+ members
  6. Offer meal plans with main dishes/ingredients that can be used for multiple meals (i.e. a roasted chicken recipe with leftovers that can also be used to make chicken salad and soup) Get creative.

And most importantly, keep it simple.

According to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, people are spending a lot of time on social media, sharing their thoughts on this extreme weather. So why not get in on the stories and offer your food-related tips and recipes on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest?


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