Comfort food redefined: new survey, pinterest insights show shift to better ingredients
Consumers seek food that is healthy, fresh and time-saving for feel-good meals, with social media as a key source for inspiration
SAN FRANCISCO – Move over, lasagna. Research released today shows consumers are more interested in comfort food than they were last year and are searching for a different type of feel-good food. A national consumer survey and Pinterest insights reveal that consumers are moving away from traditional comfort foods in favor of meals that are healthy, locally sourced and easy to prepare. The research also shows that Americans (68 percent), and especially parents (74 percent), are more concerned about what goes into the food they’re feeding their families compared to previous generations.
According to the national survey, commissioned by leading West Coast poultry producer, Foster Farms, 73 percent of consumers have changed their opinions about the food they feel good about eating. Eighty-one percent of consumers care more about the quality of ingredients, 83 percent choose healthier recipes, 81 percent eat more fruits and vegetables, and 63 percent seek more meat and poultry raised without hormones and antibiotics. Eighty-three percent of Americans said that chicken is a staple for comfort food meals with half of respondents eating less red meat. These shifts reveal that today’s comfort food cuisine features fresh and premium quality ingredients, including antibiotic-free and organic poultry and can be cooked quickly at home.
Foster Farms hosted a panel of experts in San Francisco yesterday to explore factors that have contributed to the emergence of the new comfort food trend. Panelists included Dean Rucker, chef, James Beard Award-nominated cookbook author and Food Network “Chopped” champion and Dr. Kit Yarrow, a consumer psychologist and best-selling author, who were provided survey results and Pinterest insights.
“The comfort food of yesterday is not as relevant to today’s consumers,” said chef Rucker. “Today’s home chefs want their meals to taste good, but they also want to use ingredients they feel good about. Their priorities are high quality ingredients and time.”
“Social media have informed, liberated and inspired consumers,” said Dr. Yarrow. “Today’s new comfort food is about variety, impact, and high quality ingredients rather than simply taste indulgence.”
Pinterest insights confirm that comfort food is a hot topic online and that consumers prefer a more health-conscious incarnation:
- Over the last year, people saved nearly 50,000 comfort food ideas every day to more than 14 million boards, a 140 percent increase from the previous year.
- “Veggies” is the most popular word accompanying comfort food Pins.
- Chicken is the most popular protein on Pinterest, as consumers are increasingly focused on leaner meats. In the last year, 35 million people saved 566 million chicken ideas on Pinterest, a 32 percent increase from the previous year, and more than eggs, peanut butter and beef combined.
- Traditional comfort foods are on the decline, including lasagna (down 69 percent), macaroni (down 55 percent) and stroganoff (down 50 percent) over the last year.
“We have seen that as a new generation of home cooks evolves, specifically millennial parents, ingredient preferences are more informed and carefully defined,” said Ira Brill, director of communications for Foster Farms. “Chicken is a staple ingredient, and today’s consumer wants that chicken to be antibiotic-free or organic. It is what they feel best about serving their families. We have seen continued demand for these select products as a result.”
In addition to being highly selective about comfort food ingredients, the survey identified unique cooking habits of millennials:
- 50 percent of millennials seek inspiration for recipes from social media, compared to 34 percent of older generations
- 24 percent look for online video recipes, compared to 15 percent of Gen Xers
- 41 percent share food they cook on social media at least a few times a week, compared to 24 percent of non-millennials
- 61 percent rely on recipes, compared to 54 percent of non-millennials
- 77 percent of millennials try new recipes at least once a month, compared to 65 percent of non-millennials
This month, Foster Farms debuts its New Comfort Food integrated marketing and advertising campaign dedicated to fresh, simple meals inspired by real home chefs. The campaign features Foster Farms’ Simply Raised chicken products, which are locally grown and raised with no antibiotics ever. The campaign includes TV and digital advertising, blogger partnerships, social media promotions and new recipes available at Visit www.fosterfarms.com/recipes to learn more.
About Foster Farms
California-based Foster Farms employs more than 12,000 with facilities throughout California, Oregon and Washington as well as Farmerville, Louisiana, and Demopolis, Alabama. Since 1939, West Coast families have depended on Foster Farms for premium-quality chicken and turkey products. Family-owned and operated, the company continues its legacy of excellence and commitment to quality established by its founders, Max and Verda Foster. Foster Farms specializes in fresh, all-natural chicken and turkey products free of preservatives, additives or injected sodium enhancers. Based in California’s Central Valley, with ranches in the Pacific Northwest, the company’s fresh chicken and turkey are produced in or near each region served. Foster Farms also produces delicious pre-marinated, ready-to-cook and fully cooked products that meet the quality and convenience needs of today’s home cooks, retailers, warehouse clubs and foodservice customers. The company’s commitment to excellence, honesty, quality, service and people is a source of great pride and a longtime family tradition. Visit www.fosterfarms.com to learn more.