How Food Brands Can Win Over Female Shoppers






It’s a typical Tuesday evening at Jackie’s house in Madison, Wisc. Jackie, 36, is watching her daughter, Lucy, 6 ,and son, James, 5, push their dinner around their plates. “Why aren’t you eating? Jackie asks. “Because you make the same thing all the time. Can’t we have something different for dinner?” Lucy asks.

Jackie isn’t alone. According to our recent survey, the number one meal-time challenge faced by women is boredom. Yes, boredom. Not cost or lack of time. Those are lower on the list. Women are bored and their families are bored with their meals.

The same survey uncovered some surprising insights about food including snacking, social media and influences on food purchases. These insights reveal opportunities for brands to step up their efforts to engage and win with female shoppers.

Food Study Key Insights:

1. Boredom (50%) is the #1 meal-time challenge faced by women, followed by varying tastes among family members (43%); cost of ingredients (42%) and lack of ideas for cooking healthy, good-tasting food (41%); conflicting schedules (30%); and lack of meal prep time (27%).

2. Guilty pleasures are enjoyed across all age groups, but millennials indulge with many more guilty pleasures (candy, chocolate, ice cream etc.) vs. other age groups. The item that remains a “guilty pleasure” favored across generations is ice cream.

3. Social Media: Food is a very popular topic on social: a large majority (74%) of women post or share food-related content on social media. Recipes (61%) are the most heavily shared type of content.

4. Women visit #1 Pinterest and #2 Facebook for meal inspiration i.e., recipe ideas and discovery. They turn to Instagram to show off their creations.

5. Influence on Purchase: The opinions of family and friends are most influential when women are deciding to purchase particular foods: 50% of women say family/friend opinions are very influential, following by 38% saying reviews by consumers like themselves and 38% saying information on product packaging is what they pay attention to. Least influential? Celebrity endorsements (with 73% of women say they are not influential at all) and advertising.

Food Opportunities Revealed:

1. Women are willing to make the time to prepare good food, but need tastier recipes (especially for healthy food), more ideas, and suggestions for pleasing different palates in one meal as lack of appeal is a bigger issue than lack of time. Brands can provide customers with recipes in a variety of formats, including video, as well as platforms, including Pinterest. A full 78% of respondents said that they visited food brand’s social pages in order to find recipes and tips.

2. Since boredom is such an issue, the response to boredom is just as challenging. What are the options? Takeout? Order in? A major opportunity exists for brands to make their food interesting and exciting to target customers. Drilling deeper in the survey, women tell us that what they crave from brands are product tips and tricks/recipes.

3. As for influencing purchase, brands should consider soliciting consumer product reviews from brands and prompt customers to share their love for their brand/product with their friends and family through a variety of medium including social media.

4. Sample It! Women said that a positive experience with a sample (50%) is most likely to prompt purchase. Brands should consider targeted sampling in order to get tasty samples into the hands of bored consumers “looking for food inspiration.” Coupons also inspire sampling. In fact, 83% of surveyed respondents said that they visit food brand social pages in order to get access to coupons and discounts.

Also worth noting is that there are many opportunities for brands to distinguish themselves on social: only 10% of women feel that any particular brand is doing a better job of engaging them than any other. With food continuing to be a popular topic on social for women of all ages, food marketers can distinguish themselves on social by actively engaging, encouraging more sharing and providing more ideas for them to chew on.

Infographic: The Snack Brands and Foods Moms Really Reach For

Low-carb diets may still bring a lot of buzz, but when women need a snack, they’re three times more likely to reach for chips, pretzels and crackers over protein-rich choices like cheese and yogurt.

We conducted a survey exclusively for Adweek of U.S women ages 18 and older to see what kinds of snack foods they routinely pick for themselves and their children—and which brands they buy the most. See the full story here.


SheSpeaks Consumer Insights on Baby Care

SheSpeaks commissioned our Baby Care study with the goal of better understanding:
– What drives Moms’ purchase intent
– How Moms are engaging in social & with Baby Care brands in social
– What causes mom to experiment & engage with new Baby Care brands and products
– What is the role of dads in today’s decision-making processes

The complete slideshow can be viewed below.

SheSpeaksTV Launches: A Video Channel for Women 30+

Last year, we started to notice a shift in the viewing behavior of our SheSpeaks community. Based on our ongoing research, we learned that our members were watching less and less TV and increasingly looking to online video for interesting and useful content.audrey

The Opportunity

Our research told us that over 82% of our members watch multiple online videos every week. In fact, 33% watch multiple online videos each day, and the primary place they watch videos is YouTube. But surprisingly, 52% do not subscribe to a YouTube channels. So, we asked why not?

Upon further investigation, we found that a large part of our audience, though drawn to the promise of online video, was disappointed by the lack of video channels on YouTube for women over the age of 30. Though they were increasingly getting video from YouTube, they wanted more.

SheSpeaksTV: Video Ideas from SheSpeaks Community

SheSpeaksTV is our answer to our members and women like them. But, we didn’t want to launch just another channel. We wanted our channel to be an important part of our audience’s lives. So, we asked our community of over a quarter of a million influencers what they wanted to watch, and why.

SheSpeaksTV: SheSpeaks Influencers Star in Videos

Not only did we want SheSpeaks members to weigh in on the ideas for videos but we wanted shine the spotlight on them too. We see SheSpeaksTV as a stage for our members and we want to hand them the microphone!

All of the videos on SheSpeaksTV will feature SheSpeaks influencers. Our goal is not only to create great content for our community but also to help our influencers build their video audience.

Early Success:

Preview videos are generating lots of views and many, many comments! Both good signs for the enthusiasm for our member videos. A recent video featuring style blogger Audrey McClelland has been watch close to 35,000 times and generated hundreds of comments.

You can check the video out and see more on SheSpeaksTV here:

Future plans include an upcoming two-day Video Event with influencers to be held July 16 & 17 at NYC’s Chelsea Piers. Over 400 top bloggers across a variety of categories will convene and film videos for SheSpeaksTV. Brands will also have an opportunity to do sponsored videos during the event.

Questions? Contact me at

Shedding Light on Dark Social

DarkSocialImage Imagine you just read an article or watched a video and you wanted to share it with a colleague or a friend. How would you do it?

You probably wouldn’t tweet it to them or post it on their Facebook wall. You would probably ping it to them on IM, send them an email, or maybe even ask them to come over to your computer to view it.

This happens a lot more than you think. 69% of content is shared via Dark Social, versus 23% via Facebook (link to full study below).

What is Dark Social?

Dark Social is personal social sharing such as copying text from sites through media such as email, IM or saved Word documents that standard web analytics can’t track or measure.

What Content is Shared the Most on Dark Social?

The study revealed the nature of the content shared via Dark Social, and found that the most shared content fell into the category of Arts and Entertainment, closely followed by Career, Travel, Science and Education. Types of Content Shared on Dark Social RadiumOne was able to conduct this study via a new web analytics program that tracks what was shared via Dark Social as well as what was clicked on after being shared.  This “clickback data” also provides rich consumer insights they can help determine what future content is worth creating.

What Does Dark Social Mean for Brands?

Publishers and brands understand the benefits of people sharing their content, hence they spend an increasing amount of time and effort making content available across social platforms. 32% of people only share via Dark Social, and the number of older adults only sharing via Dark Social is significantly higher than their younger counterparts. Dark Social by Age Chart RadiumOne observes that Dark Social is much more valuable than Light Social as it tends to be directed to friends, family and colleagues, with whom the sender has a trusted relationship.

“Dark Social sharing carries much more weight than a Facebook post or Tweet” reports RadiumOne, “…and more than compensates for the ‘one to many’ virality of other platforms”.

Dark Social Conclusions

Since most of the content being shared today cannot accurately be attributed, publishers and brands are missing out on valuable consumer behavior, as well as information that could help determine the return on their investment in content creation and distribution. It’s worth the effort to understand the Dark Social sharing of your content and invest in software that will be able to track it.

All of the charts came from the RadiumOne Study: The Light and Dark of Social Sharing – Harnessing the Power of Consumer Connections that was fielded in five countries via Tpoll, and had 9,000 respondents.