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Kelly Olivieri
Posted by Kelly OlivieriJune 25, 2019 5:20 PM

Knives out, chefs! Like many millennials, I’ve grown up with cooking shows being a regular occurrence on my TV screen. My personal favorite is anything with Gordon Ramsay—not only are his dishes simple and dreamy, he also has better one-liners than any Real Housewives franchise on Bravo.

“Shade” and yelling aside…there’s no denying the growth of cooking shows. Netflix alone has added 20 over the last year! (I have at least half of those in my queue right now.) That fact compounded by the rise of video content as a “scroll-stopper” on social media means that food content is everywhere for consumers. Fresh produce marketers, take note: cooking shows are telling you all that you need to know about your target audience!

Here are three tips you can take from your favorite celebrity chefs:


3 Lessons Fresh Produce Marketers Can Learn From Cooking Shows

1. Inspiration


(I will neither confirm nor deny that I’ve yelled, “They make it look so easy!” at the TV before…)

Though cooking shows do have the power to inspire culinary creativity, we’re really talking about the stories that come through while a chef is working. Take Chef’s Table, for example. This isn’t the typical, “Hi, I’m _____, and I’m going to make this dish today,” kind of show.

Yes, Chef’s Table does feature a handful of the best chefs in the world (as in Michelin-star-level chefs), but the entire premise centers around the chef’s story—why they chose their ingredients, where they get their ingredients from, and closely follows the entire culinary process. It’s the attention to detail, the incredible cinematography, and the story behind each dish that is so awe-inspiring.

Perhaps one of the biggest challenges for consumers looking to attempt this level of cooking is getting over the initial, “I’m not a chef, why am I attempting this,” conundrum…and the deep-sigh-inducing mess that a good meal often creates. Through those realities, shows like Chef’s Table teach us that cooking is a beautiful, messy piece of art that doesn’t necessarily require a Michelin star to recreate.


Fresh produce takeaway: Foodspo (food + inspiration) is leading audiences to your brand! Take advantage of this opportunity to keep inspiring new recipe ideas with your products. Not sure where to get started? We've got you covered:


2. Intrigue


Oh, Anthony Bourdain, the man who first introduced pho to my small-town, fried-chicken-and-hushpuppies-loving Mississippi household… In my opinion, Bourdain was a pioneer who mastered the art of helping people travel around the world to learn about new cuisines—and right from their own living rooms. I was so intrigued by this particular episode that when I finally had the chance to try pho, I loved it. Given my food background at the time, I didn’t even know pho existed until Anthony Bourdain brought it to life for me.  

And we don’t need millions of television viewers to do something similar: fresh produce is growing in intrigue! Ask any of your favorite Brussels sprouts growers, and they’ll tell you what we all already know: their product has risen in popularity significantly over the last 5 years. While this can’t be traced back to one chef or cooking show in particular, there’s no denying that celebrity chefs have helped to bring this classic veggie back into the spotlight. My grandmother likes to talk about Rachael Ray’s statement that Brussels sprouts are the new popular side dish, which is evidence to me on a personal level that celebrity chefs are making an impression on people!


Fresh produce takeaway: The resurgence of “unknown” (or less traditionally popular) veggies is growing—how is your brand taking advantage of this? What dishes already use your products that you can better showcase in your marketing?


3. Simplicity


We all know that there are cooking shows centered around rich, indulgent dishes (looking at you, Paula Deen!) that are essentially a “guilty pleasure.” Despite that, the reality is that the most effective cooking shows tend to be the ones that utilize fresh, simple ingredients. Salt Fat Acid Heat, one of the most popular cooking shows on Netflix, is an excellent example of this.

The elevator pitch for the show is Samin Nosrat’s description of the four essentials to cooking any meal: salt, fat, acid, and heat (hence the title). All of her recipes are simple, easy to follow and sure to make any mouth water. In large part, it’s the simplicity that makes her style so appealing: plop a chicken in a Ziploc bag of buttermilk to marinate, plop back on the table to warm up and cook, then voila—a tasty dinner. This is so simple that even cooking novices can do it!

And on that note: it’s no coincidence that the top food trends for 2019 include convenience related to fresh produce, with 25% of consumers reporting they would try meal kits in the next 6 months. What is your brand doing to make it simple for consumers to purchase your product?


Fresh produce takeaway: The way to appeal to people is through the short and sweet. My mother always says to “stop beating around the bush” with what you’re trying to say—and that advice holds true for your brand! When in doubt, keep your ingredient lists and recipes as simple as possible in order to appeal to a greater range of “chefs-in-training” in your target audience.


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