A new report from ButcherBox, a direct-to-consumer meat and seafood brand, found that social media has positively affected consumers' culinary exploration over the last few years, as more than half of Americans (56%) reported increased confidence in the kitchen thanks to these platforms.

 Of the 88% of people who use social media for food inspiration, more than half (52%) of those respondents depend on it weekly as they plan their meals.

Expanding social media's influence beyond recipes, this new report also found that consumers have leaned into these social resources as their comprehensive food education source. According to the report nearly three-quarters of respondents (72%) say they use social media for tips outside of cooking and recipes, for things like cooking techniques, skills and kitchen hacks.

This newfound education has also impacted consumers' purchasing behavior, specifically when it comes to conscious consumption. Nearly half of Americans (46%) credit social media for changes to their food shopping habits, and more than 75% of those respondents said it influenced them to buy a new ingredient they wouldn't normally buy. Nearly a quarter (22%) of respondents claimed they have purchased food items that have specific labels, claims, or ingredients they learned about on these social platforms (i.e., grass-fed, keto-friendly, gluten-free, cage-free, etc.).

Gen Z isn't the only generation benefiting from this phenomenon of social fueled food inspiration and exploration. Nearly 40% of Gen X respondents and 20% of Baby Boomers report using TikTok for food recipe inspiration.

"While not surprising that social media has impacted food culture, like it has so many other industries, it's inspiring to see the impact translate as a confidence booster for consumers when it comes to getting into the kitchen and preparing a meal," said Kiran Smith, chief marketing officer at ButcherBox. "Planning for and cooking a meal with confidence and self-assurance is an incredibly powerful experience. Whether you are just starting out with the basics or a seasoned home chef, social media helps take the complication and intimidation out of food exploration, making it accessible at any level."

Additional insights

  • Viral food trends, like butter boards and birria tacos, are becoming recipe repertoire staples.
  • One-third (31%) of respondents reported that they almost always make viral recipes more than once, whereas nearly half (47%) of Baby Boomers have tried to recreate a viral food trend they have seen on social media in the past year.
  • The consumption of food content is on the rise among Americans since the pandemic.
  • Nearly half (47%) of respondents reported that they started engaging in more food-focused content since the pandemic.
  • Algorithms are driving consumer engagement versus influencer loyalty, according to most Americans.
  • More than 70% of respondents find food inspiration based on an algorithm recommendation and nearly half (44%) aren't loyal to specific food influencers as a result.
  • We can thank social media for the culinary exploration taking place in kitchens across the country.
  • More than a third (40%) of respondents report that social media has influenced them to try new cuisines they wouldn't have tried on their own.

Source: ButcherBox