As I wrap up my master’s degree we’re looking at differentiation among brands and the way they use social media to stand out among the growing gluten free and allergy friendly markets. Most of us social media for entertainment purposes while companies use social media to build a community around their company and brand. This is probably even more true when you look at the food allergy community. We truly are a community of our own sharing experiences, recipes, and research with each other.
I wanted to choose two very different companies; either one larger one smaller, one with a wide variety of products and one very focused on a single product, or one that is focused on allergy friendly food only while the other offers only small selection of safe foods. I looked at a lot of social media pages and found that any truly established brand has the same approach whether they are small, large, the variety of product they offer, or the main demographic they target.
In looking at some of the most well known brands in the food allergy industry you almost have to include Enjoy Life Foods. When you add their recent purchase by Mondelez I immediately thought of all the fun stuff Oreo has done on social media in the past few years. Even if you only glance at their Instagram page it’s photo after photo of bright fun colors with at least one Oreo in every image no matter the setting. This same fun image would work great with Enjoy Life and their product line. I hope there is some influence in their future social media efforts from Mondelez and the Oreo team.
With all the food allergies in our home and among our extended family a dairy allergy is the one we run across the least. Having only interacted with dairy free brand at the 2015 FABlogCon I thought it would be good to use one of these brands that I’m not as family with. I loved So Delicious and their desserts at the conference and since they specialize in only dairy free products this should be a nice contrast in product offerings while still targeting the food allergy community.
This past week was Pi day, or pie day for those exchanging recipes. So Delicious made it a week long affair with photos and recipes of pies using their dairy free products as well as some gluten free, egg free, and soy free options because they understand that many of us cooking for one food allergy are often covering many. The photos were amazing, and the content was shared across Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. So Delicious was also great about responding to posts and comments about their #Pi4all Instagram contest this week encouraging others to share their best pie recipes using So Delicious products. With so much interaction going on the So Delicious social media accounts feel like a community with questions, praise for the product, and sharing of food allergy knowledge.
Enjoy Life didn’t have a specific post for Pi day, but was on top of a St. Patrick’s Day parfait with their soft baked cookies, mini chips, and dairy free ice cream. They also spent the past week at the Expo West trade show where they displayed new products and shared videos on Snapchat and Periscope. In between posts and tweets about Expo West there were posts and tweets about products, recipes, and events going on around the country featuring Enjoy Life products and food allergy bloggers. Enjoy Life feels like a members only page at times highlighting brand ambassadors from bloggers to chefs and fans in between. There is also a big community following on their pages sharing photos of kids happily eating their products and answering questions about food allergy concerns.
While both brands seem to be using the same tactics (sharing recipes, promoting products, etc.) So Delicious is more focused on what you can make with their products sharing more recipes. Enjoy Life is more focused on their actual products, which also includes a separate Twitter account for their Plentils chips. Neither takes an overly sales based approach pushing their products on people which probably wouldn’t go over well with the food allergy community. That both brands are using a community approach is part of their success. Sharing information with others going through the same health issues is what brings the food allergy community together. We support each other through all the trials and frustrations that we face when food allergies are a part of our lives.