The Huffington Post published an article back in 2014 that explored the ways in which the social activity of eating was being influenced by social media use. It concluded that global food culture was undeniably digitised, that sharing ‘food’ posts on social networks was the modern version of sharing a meal with friends and family.
It is hardly surprising then, that FOOD is one of the most posted and shared items across Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. The power and attraction of “food sharing” was demonstrated by the fact that the most viewed video on Facebook in October was from Tasty, who posted a walk through recipe for a layered ham and cheese potato bake. This single video generated 90 million views and 3 million + engagements.
What does that mean for commercial buyers and producers of fresh produce? Quite simply, marketing and plating up fresh produce means so much more today than simply presenting good food. The digital food culture has evolved to a place where the story around your food is as appealing, if not more appealing, than the food item itself.
Consumer desire for digital provenance and connection to food is loaded with opportunity for the fresh food supply chain.
Recently the HiveXchange ran a 3 month trial of a digital supply model, combining e-commerce and social media, with fishermen in the corner inlet area of Victoria. After the fishermen caught their fish they would make live offers on the HiveXchange to commercial restaurant buyers in Melbourne. Those restaurants then promoted the fresh catch on Twitter and/or Instagram with a photo and message to their customers. The result was overwhelmingly positive; a full restaurant, a positive social media food experience, and the forging of a deeper transparent connection between producer, buyer and consumer.
The digital supply model, as trialled successfully in the Corner Inlet, presents a key opportunity for sustainable development in regional communities, where it can provide a more profitable and agile fresh food supply chain. Many top-quality producers based in regional centres across Australia are channelled into existing supply chains that bring the food resource into the major cities for trade and distribution. Under this system, regional communities not only miss out on fresher local produce, they also miss out on the economic benefits and positive social connection of supporting local suppliers.
The HiveXchange is working to facilitate more regionally-based supply chains across Australia by providing local communities with a digital platform that allows them to trade commercial quantities of fresh produce efficiently and securely online. We are currently providing logistics and trade support via the HiveXchange platform to the Central Coast Food Collective, enabling local food value chains to be established.
Society uses the technology in our pockets and homes to enrich our life experiences. We live in an information and sharing economy, a fact that has significant implications for how producers plate up for their commercial prospects.