How Food and Beverage Industry Professionals Consume Media

Industry professionals seek pertinent information for solutions and reward media that fulfill specific needs.

By Larry Bagan, Publisher

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We at Food Processing value the dedication, passion and ingenuity that drive food & beverage industry professionals and processors to greater heights.

The greatest challenges to food and beverage processors appear to lie ahead, based upon the following: world population is projected to grow to 9.6 billion in the year 2050; global food production should be 60 percent higher than that of 2005/2007 to meet 2050 projected world food consumption.

To better serve our readers with the most valuable information, via the media formats preferred by our industry, Food Processing and Preston/Rogers Associates have undertaken four comprehensive Media Consumption Studies (over the past five years). The studies have been conducted to solicit and analyze the media consumption of food and beverage industry professionals.

This is a time in history when food and beverage industry professionals often wear multiple hats, more forms of media exist than ever before and the industry's challenges remain great. Given that background, we felt compelled to share the information gleaned from the 2013 Media Consumption Survey Among Food & Beverage Industry Professionals. The study results are based upon 568 Food Processing subscriber responses to the survey; margin of error for a survey this size is +/- 4.1 percent, at the 95 percent confidence level.

Media Consumption

Media consumption is on the rise

Ninety percent of survey respondents indicate their consumption of food & beverage industry-related media (print and digital) remained the same or increased over the past 12 months. Of the 35 percent of respondents who report they spent more time consuming media during the past year (only 10 percent reported spending less time consuming media), 63 percent cite food & beverage industry magazines as a media source accounting for their increase in media consumption; 53 percent cite the increase in consumption of food & beverage industry e-newsletters as a contributing factor. Social media and webinars/webcasts were cited by 24 percent of respondents as accounting for increased media consumption.

Those who say that the printed magazine format is dead may want to pause and consider the following study results before closing the coffin: Industry professionals prefer to receive their magazines in a printed edition, rather than a digital format, by a 2 to 1 margin; the number of respondents stating they would be interested in a version of Food Processing for the iPad or tablet (27 percent) is down from 31 percent in 2012 (the first year the study asked this question). For the past two years, the studies have asked respondents to identify their age group. The 2012 and 2013 studies both report that industry professionals aged 35 and under consume the most print media.

Reasons for reading, actions taken

The reasons cited most by food & beverage industry professionals for reading industry magazines are: to keep current on food/beverage industry news/analysis, look for new ideas and learn about new products/vendors.

As a result of reading food & beverage industry publications, 68 percent of industry professionals indicate they may use ideas found within articles, 54 percent may visit an advertiser's website and 41 percent may contact a vendor/advertiser to learn more about a specific product/ingredient.

Respondents with R&D/Technical Research/New Product Development responsibilities consume the most print media (2 hours per week). In addition, they are the most likely to: contact a vendor/advertiser (54 percent), visit an advertiser's website (60 percent), and utilize magazines to look for new ideas (76 percent). It's also worth noting that 50 percent of Executive/Senior Management and 51 percent of Purchasing/Procurement professionals cite the likelihood of contacting a vendor/advertiser as the result of reading a magazine article or advertisement. Forty-four percent of Productions/Operations professionals, also above the study average, state they may contact a vendor/advertiser after reading industry magazines.

Digital media consumption

Consumption of digital media has remained relatively consistent since 2008 (same as for print media). Like its print brother, digital media consumption is strongest among R&D/Technical Research/New Product Development respondents. It probably does not come as a surprise that the 35 and under age group consumes the most digital media, but the following survey result might: Those aged 55 and older consume as much digital media as their youngest industry counterparts.

Search engines are the resource used the most for work purposes, with 63 percent of respondents citing daily use. Magazines are utilized second most frequently by industry professionals, with supplier websites ranking third, followed closely by e-newsletters. Social media is used by 74 percent of respondents for business purposes, although that is down from the 87 percent who claimed business usage in 2012's survey.

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