Believe it or not, there is a whole online magazine that is dedicated to the digital advertising regarding food; obviously the target audience is limited to restaurant owners/food sales people, but for them it contains information for a much-needed aspect for their business. The magazine provides tips and oversight for food websites, eNewsletters, eBlasts, Video, Webinar, Research Assistant, and Digital Edition magazines, focusing on the specs, audience and circulation in each.
Being vegan, diabetic or having a high cholesterol raises many boundaries in the food world of what and what not to eat; thanks to new media blogs, these people with specific issues can network with people with the same issues to brainstorm new solutions—this gluten free blog is geared towards anti-gluten folks, and provides recipes that substitute fatal ingredients for neutral ones. Once again, new media is knowledge, and knowledge is vital when it comes to knowing what is in your food.
McDonalds was under fire when the famous “pink slime” video became viral, a mini-documentary that offensively made out the most popular fast food chain to be nasty and inadequate. The “pink slime” refers to unhealthy and dangerous ingredients mixed in to the contents of chicken nuggets. McDonalds used the same factual approach of new media to defend themselves—in this video, managers show a customer the wholesome and admirable aspects of McDonalds, emphasizing the lack of pink slime.
Due to new media, the news and scandals of the food world have spread like wildfire, on subjects like the Paula Dean disaster, dry-age beef, luxury eating, chilies as a drug, cattle slaughterhouses, fast food and much more—new media spreads the word to America, definitely leading to some changes in food choices. Every one of these stories is more enticing than the next, and although they tend to expose the negatives of the food industry, it is exposing the truth.
Yelp says it itself; it is the “best way to find local businesses”. Coming in the form of both a website and app, Yelp has a whole category dedicated to food (restaurants, bars, pizza, as specific as you want) based on the user’s location. The winning feature of the app is that users can also rate the place they dined at post-meal, sharing the information with the world. It certainly makes it easier when you are in the mood for sushi and you want a classy, 5 star place!
The Monterey Bay Aquarium released an app called “Seafood Watch” that not only provides users with a specified selection of seafood, but also ensures that the safety of ocean species and endangerment are safe. The app very much relies on customer satisfaction, as restaurants are sorted by rating, and user location. The app, in my opinion, does not appeal to a wide enough audience, as people usually are not looking specifically for seafood and do not necessarily care about ocean preservation.
HuffPost Taste is a prime example of food in new media, like in this example, where “The Chicken Wing Hunt” video is globalized for the Super Bowl season. The video incorporates Americans’ love of wings, hot sauce and a few favorite athletes who try EXTREMELY hot sauce, a video that was than shared with great success on multiple media platforms. HuffPost Taste is one of the more successful example of new media mixed in with food, as it allows user participation with comments and discussion.
Foursquare is an app based on location—when the user is somewhere that they deem interesting, they “check-in” via GPS using the app. Most of my friends use Foursquare for food, adding ratings, comments or photos to their check-in of choice. It does the same thing that word-of-mouth does, boasting the popularity of certain restaurants over others, therefore, boosting their business. It creates those moments where users can look at the app and say, “Oh, my friend Jimmy went there, let’s go!”
Summer of 2013 raised a stir on the Food Network channel, when the popular TV Show host made prejudice remarks that led to her career’s demise. She turned into a grandmotherly cook to a hated racist woman. YouTube was the source of many clips regarding Paula Dean and her views, something that the social media world went absolutely crazy about—it goes to show that people must be careful about what they put out on the internet, because it can come back to bite them.
Food Educate is an app that acts like a professor, giving food brands grades A-F based on their health and quality. Special warnings are given for artificial colors, small serving portions, excessive sugar or processing, etc. The one weakness of the app is that it focuses on yogurt, cereal and snacks while I believe audiences would enjoy a wider range; either way, it keeps eaters informed with the click of a button. Here, Fiber One bars earn a surprisingly low grade despite having low…