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Young Consumers Seek Cooking Advice From Social Media

SEATTLE — When today’s consumers — especially the 18 to 32 age group — want to know the nutritional value of a food or how to cook tilapia, they're more apt to ask a stranger than a family member, new research by The Hartman Group reveals.

Communication with strangers most likely will be through social and digital media, the study shows. It indicates that almost half of consumers learn about food via social networking sites, such as Twitter and Facebook, and 40% learn about food via websites, apps or blogs.

"Consumers used to rely on mom and family traditions for meal planning, but now search online for what to cook, without ever tasting or smelling," Laurie Demeritt, president and COO at The Hartman Group, said in a press release.

This group might tell Mom what they're eating or ask her what she's cooking for dinner, but they could very well be communicating via twitter or Facebook, David Wright, Hartman senior associate, told SN this week. Casual and quick-service restaurants discovered quite a while ago that young people were tweeting or texting their friends while they were eating, telling them about menu selections. And Demerrit points out that that while eating or drinking at home nearly one third of Americans use social networking sites. Among Millennials (18-32 years old), this figure jumps to 47%.

"The 'table for one' rarely exists anymore, even among single people eating alone at home," Demeritt said. "If you are eating alone, chances are you are also texting friends who live miles away or posting food photos to a review site." Called Clicks & Cravings: The Impact of Social Technology on Food Culture, the new study was jointly developed and conducted by consumer research firm The Hartman Group and Publicis Consultants USA, a food & nutrition marketing agency, part of MSLGROUP Americas.

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