- Forty-four percent of shoppers tried making a social media food trend this year and 36% said social media has changed how they cook at home, according to a recent Instacart survey of more than 2,000 adults in the U.S. conducted by The Harris Poll.
- Among those who tried making a trending recipe they found on social media, 90% said they added at least one dish to their regular cooking rotation, and 11% said they added more than five.
- As part of its newly released 2021 Year in Groceries report, Instacart said that top social media trends will become a part of consumers’ weekly meal planning in 2022.
Instacart’s report indicates that viral food trends are having more of a sustained impact on consumers' cooking and eating habits than many companies may realize.
“With viral food trends making a noticeable impact on Instacart grocery carts this past year, we expect consumers to look for more connection points between social media inspiration and how they cook at home, which includes grocery shopping,” Instacart Trends Expert Laurentia Romaniuk said in the company’s blog on Wednesday.
As part of the report, Instacart delved into three social media food trends: baked feta pasta, salmon rice bowl and "nature’s cereal." The latter is an energizing breakfast dish made with fruit, coconut water and ice.
The company gave breakdowns on the day the main ingredient in each dish hit its search peak and a regional look at where each dish was most popular. For example, orders containing the main ingredients in baked feta pasta jumped 106% the week of Feb. 7 and searches for “feta” peaked as the 125th most searched item on Instacart on Feb. 9.
Tracking trends and combining that with purchasing data not only gives Instacart insight into what shoppers are making, but also can provide advertising and marketing leverage.
Instacart said its purchase data shows popular food trends like baked feta pasta and nature’s cereal are becoming mainstays, noting that 12% and 15% of customers who made the dishes, respectively, ordered ingredients for it three or more times in 2021.
Unsurprisingly, the report found that viral food recipes have gained more traction among younger generations than older ones, with 71% of Gen Z'ers (ages 18-24) and 70% of Millennials (ages 25-70) saying they tried making a social media food trend this year, compared to 35% of Gen X’ers (ages 41-56) and 24% of Boomers (ages 57-75).
Looking ahead, the e-commerce company also predicted comfort food trends will soar in 2022, noting that 33% of survey respondents said they want to recreate social media trends related to dishes like pastas and casseroles.
“In the New Year, we predict there will be an even greater increase in new recipes and unconventional culinary concepts coming from home chefs everywhere around the world,” Romaniuk said. “In particular, we can expect to see new renditions and variations of our favorite comfort foods, including pastas, stews, and casseroles take off especially as we hunker down for the colder winter months ahead.”