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Food Marketing: Create Ads Your Audience Will Eat Up

Everyone eats. But do you know how to get consumers to eat up your food marketing?

In part 4 of GLG’s Truth Be Told series, we’ll tell you how to craft compelling creative and how to select the right channels to serve up truly delicious ads to your audience.

In partnership with research tool Cubeyou, we conducted an in-depth audience analysis and found that men and women think about food very differently. So do fathers and men without children. Luckily, you can reach them all with these tips.

Our Study’s Audience

We targeted an audience that’s growing bigger by the day: fans of meal kit subscription services.

Meal kits, preportioned groceries ordered online and delivered to customers’ doors, are revolutionizing food shopping and home cooking. Market research firm Technomic estimates that meal kits will be a $10 billion market segment within the next decade.1

For meal kit market leader Blue Apron, audience data reveals some striking differences about how modern consumers are approaching food and how marketers should talk to them.

The Food Gender Gap

Fans of meal kit subscription services are mostly white, in a relationship or married, and living in an urban hub. Unsurprisingly, a chief interest is food.

However, women like organic and natural foods the most. Men prefer wine, and alcohols made up 60 percent of their top five food and beverage choices.

And these food preferences reflected differences in psychology: women’s top psychographic trait was DIY/home decorating, while the men’s top interest was partying.

Creative for Him and Her

Women interested in meal kits tend to be:

  • More interested in healthy and natural foods, and in preparing dinner themselves to avoid processed foods and additives
  • Interested in exploring their artistic skills and growing their kitchen techniques
  • Appreciative of beautiful-looking food

Men interested in meal kits tend to be:

  • Traveling businesspeople with limited free time, so they want food fast
  • Social partiers who enjoy sharing food (and alcohol) with friends

Because men and women think about food differently, the ads that resonate with them are different. Engaging creative for women might feature fresh produce and other natural foods, visually appealing arrangements of food to communicate its artistry, and women picking up new techniques while cooking from their meal kits.

In order to reach men, effective creative could focus on scenes of people eating together to emphasize the social elements of food and might include friends mixing cocktails or sipping drinks with dinner. The creative might also emphasize the ease and speed of meal kits versus traditional meal planning and shopping for groceries—a man can order groceries online, and they come to right to his door, ready to become dinner.

The Food Parenthood Gap

Kids also change how fans of meal kit subscription services think about food, at least for men.

The best way to reach men is through their favorite TV shows, but men who are fathers and men who are not fathers are watching different programs.

Different TV Shows for Dad

Of the top five TV shows for fathers:

  • Two were cooking shows, The Chew and Top Chef
  • One was a children’s show, Yo Gabba Gabba!
  • One was the comic book-inspired series, Gotham

The top five TV shows for men without children were either related to the LGBT community or were hard-hitting dramas, including:

  • LGBT reality TV show, RuPaul’s Drag Race
  • TV dramas, True Detective and House of Cards
  • Progressive news show, The Rachel Maddow Show

The data suggests that men with children and men without interact with media in quite different ways.

The ideal channel to reach fathers is not a stereotypical sports channel. Instead, it’s cooking shows and kid-friendly TV that they watch with their youngsters.

Men without children are highly engaged with LGBT programming and sophisticated dramas. To reach them, run ads on LGBT-specific TV channels or during adult drama shows that are separated from children’s programming.

Successful Ads: The Sweetest Dessert

Succeeding in food advertising requires cooking up the right creative and then running it on the right channels. Audience research is crucial to that process.

In the end, by truly knowing who you’re serving—what they want and where they are—you can decide on a creative strategy that your audience is sure to eat up.


1. “Technomic study reveals global opportunities within meal kit market,” Technomic, January 6, 2016,