In a world where constant connectivity to electronics is the new normal, its safe to say social media is here to stay. But if the food industry wants to keep up with today’s consumers, it will need to incorporate social platforms into its marketing strategy.  Rather than being a mere presence, they must actively engage followers. This is the thesis behind Packaged Facts new study “Retail Food Marketing Trends in the U.S.: Technology, Mobile, and Social Media.”

"Through engaging customers socially, brands can build and nurture relationships with their communities in ways never before available," says David Sprinkle, research director, Packaged Facts. "Target, Publix, and Walmart are particularly adept at leveraging social media. These companies connect with consumers through blogs, and incorporate multiple social websites ranging from Facebook and Twitter to Instagram and Pinterest to YouTube and Vine into their strategies."

According to Packaged Facts, the incidence of using the internet for either food shopping or research is fairly widespread. Most prevalently, grocery store shoppers use social media to get recipes (59 percent), compare princes between food brands (54 percent), or access a supermarket website to check prices/find products/sales flyer.

Since Millennials have grown up using social media, it shouldn’t come as a shock that these interactions influence their grocery purchase decisions.  A closer look at the Millennial age group shows that social media is particularly influential among men, $50K+ household income adults, and those who are married with kids.

 Packaged Facts research reveals that Millennial men emerge as 165 percent more likely than average to say social media advertising from supermarkets influenced their decision to buy a food/grocery product in last 12 months, followed closely by social media posts from friends/family, and social media post from supermarkets.  Similarly, middle-aged men skew higher in allowing social media to influence their buying habits.