Consumers’ food preferences, search behavior and paths to purchase are evolving, requiring food brands to adapt and expand their product and recipe content to compete against recipe sites and e-tailers.

Enterprises are responding by synergizing their site efforts as individual brand platforms continue to lose relevance according to Gartner L2’s Digital IQ Index: Food. For example, Kraft Heinz, PepsiCo and The Kellogg Co. are shifting toward consolidation to leverage their enterprise scale for content, campaigns and commerce through enterprise sites in lieu of brand sites or specific site features, and multi-brand display ads showcasing their broader portfolios. Breaking through on recipe content against editorial sites is difficult but not impossible. General Mills brands Betty Crocker and Pillsbury are anchored on site recipe content and also actively post and promote recipe content on pay-to-play social platforms like Facebook. Land O’ Lakes and Hidden Valley rely on paid media, resorting to different digital tactics with search and display ads.

Brands like Nutella, on the other hand, engage with consumers on Instagram through sped-up recipes and influencer posts On the contrary, recipes are less relevant for categories like snack bars, snack foods and breakfast cereal. Instead, health and wellness trends spike in consumer search behavior. Brands like Smucker’s, KIND and Clif Bar prioritize ingredient and nutrition messaging across different channels. They optimize content on product pages to earn higher search visibility as well. Enterprises like The Kellogg Co. have also shown pockets of digital excellence by incubating new brands tied to health and wellness trends to stay relevant amid the growth of smaller upstarts.

On the other end of the spectrum are perishable categories like yogurt, frozen foods and ice cream which have a lower mileage for recipe content and retailer site e-commerce experiences that are still maturing. Owning the path to purchase falls almost entirely on the brands, and best-in-class brands like Talenti and Chobani have proven that success is within reach.

Brands should first and foremost leverage sites to educate and guide consumers for upper-funnel engagement like product research and invest in e-commerce capabilities to seamlessly hand off to retail partners.

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