Lockdown Cuisine: Cooking at Home During COVID-19

By Amber Swanick,
Junior Account Manager
and Andrew Zenyuch,
Associate Creative Director

Working from home. Teaching from home. Grocery shopping at home. Happy hours… at home.

During a time when every aspect of life is happening under the same roof, more consumers than ever are cooking at home.

It’s not like they have a choice, either. Strict stay-at-home notices are in affect for most of the country, some of which are only allowing trips to the grocery store or pharmacy. More and more restaurants are closing daily, further limiting eating options.

This means most people are stuck cooking for themselves, whether they like it or not. Looks like those carts full of meat will be put to good use.

But on the whole, consumers are making the most of their extra time in the kitchen.

There’s been an absolute explosion of food content on social media. From creations to tips to countless hashtags like #coronaviruscooking, #covideats, #quarantinekitchen and more, consumers are sharing their food adventures as a way of connecting with others and showing off their dishes.

Consumers are also cooking their way through guides from…. well, just about everyone. It feels like pretty much every major food outlet – from Food And Wine to the NY Times – has put out content about cooking during the quarantine.

Lockdown Cuisine: Cooking at Home During COVID-19

Interest in Delivery Meal Kits, like Blue Apron and Hello Fresh, have skyrocketed as well. We outlined why before: they offer what consumers are craving more than ever: convenience, variety and peace of mind. While locked in their houses 24/7, consumers are looking to change things up where they can – keep their meals fresh and fun with kits like these.

With grocery trips dropping and home delivery rising, consumers are diving into their pantries and getting creative with what they have on hand. These Pantry Meals avoid waste and the anxiety of leaving the house while saving consumer’s money.

So, how can marketers connect with these home cooks during the lockdown?

Help Keep It Simple

While some consumers are kitchen veterans, others aren’t used to cooking every meal for themselves and their families. Tips and recipes that embrace the basics will help inspire confidence and help ease unfamiliar consumers into the cooking role.

Plus, while no one’s leaving home, time is still at a premium. Even the most seasoned home cooks would value some simple inspiration.

Join the Conversation

Like we said above, everyone is talking about what they’re cooking. So, jump in! Share what the brand’s working on in a test kitchen or a unique take on the trending hashtags. Re-highlighting existing content in a fresh light is a great way to get started, and coming up with fresh, in-the-moment spin or brand-new recipe would get a brand into the social discussion.

Don’t Let “Self-Shot” Hold You Back

If a new piece of content is shot at home, or if it’s a little rough around the edges, that’s okay! Consumers today are pretty forgiving if things aren’t completely polished. It shows you’re in the same boat as they are – adding to the authenticity of the reality we’re all experiencing.

If Disney can pull-off an entirely self-shot sing along for national TV, a brand can do a quick recipe shoot or how-to video at home.

Stand Out from The Crowd

The drawback to jumping into the conversation is that there’s a flood of content right now. More than ever, what you’re posting needs as to be unique to your brand and tailored to your specific audience and their needs. What are their major pain points right now? What are they scared of in the kitchen? What solutions can your brand offer? Is there a unique way to tell that story? Leaning into these types of questions will give you a leg-up in the content game.

Make It Worth It

Brands who want to capitalize on this trend should show how they can enrich the extra time spent in the kitchen or at the dinner table with family. Helping families mix it up at home, satisfying picky eaters, and demystifying the kitchen will keep them coming back to your feed.

Delivering value is a basic tenant of social media content. Creating useful content that resonates now could create loyalty for the long-term. Which brings us to our next point…

Have A Plan for The Long-Term

While some people will sprint out of their kitchens when this is over, most won’t, and a good majority of everyone will continue at least some of the habits they learned during the lockdown. That includes who they turn to for ideas and solutions for their meals. Looking forward, a strategy should be in place to retain those followers and to continue producing the content that attracted them.

Cooking at home moved from a choice to a necessity during the Coronavirus outbreak. Consumers are making the most of their extra time in the kitchen through quarantine creations, meal kits, pantry meals and cooking with help from content they enjoy.

Brands have an opportunity to connect with these new-found home cooks by joining the social conversation, keeping it simple, and creating worthwhile content that stands out. They shouldn’t let self-shot get in the way of jumping in and brands should have a strategy in place to retain their new followers and continue to produce fun content after the outbreak is over.