- McCormick is launching co-branded spice mixes with BuzzFeed called Tasty Seasoning Blends, according to MediaPost.
- The spices will come in five flavors: Fiery, Zesty, Savory, Jazzy and Hearty. U.S. customers can purchase a set of all five for $29.99. In June, customers will be able to purchase individual packets for $1.99.
- McCormick has been a longtime partner of BuzzFeed’s recipe vertical Tasty, which generates about a quarter of the media company’s 2018 revenue of $50 million.
Integrated, people-based or native marketing is becoming the new gold standard across industries and McCormick is wisely jumping on board. As consumers look for authentic recommendations through content or endorsement from online personalities to make purchasing decisions, partnerships with blogging influencers and video tutorials are becoming more commonplace.
In the food space where images especially drive engagement, McCormick has made a savvy choice to partner with one of the most popular sources for recipe video tutorials. With $12.5 million dollars in revenue from combining commerce and advertising in their Tasty videos, being the official spice of these videos gives the McCormick access to a lucrative and attentive audience.
BuzzFeed primarily reaches millennials and Gen Z, which are the two largest segments of consumers in the United States. They consume a large amount of media online, so BuzzFeed's platform puts this legacy CPG company squarely in the crosshairs of these up-and-coming generations.
Millennials and Gen Z are particularly fond of spices and ethnic flavors. Home cooking and using different seasonings to reduce salt and sugar have led to a strong uptick in direct-to-consumer sales. Supermarket seasoning sales were up 5.2% in 2016, according to the 2017 Winsight Grocery Business State of the Industry Almanac. Already, McCormick has Thai Kitchen, Zatarain’s, Simply Asia and Lawry’s in its portfolio, and this partnership with BuzzFeed is another attempt at expansion into this lucrative market.
At the same time, there are downsides to creating an all-in-one spice. Younger generations are interested not just in flavor but in authentic flavor. That means that they want to see the flavors and seasonings that part of a cuisine used in their food. Technomic’s 2018 Ethnic Food & Beverage Consumer Trend Report noted of the 87% of consumers who order ethnic fare or food with ethnic flavors, 44% always prefer completely authentic fare and 32% are willing to pay extra for it to be genuine. Convincing consumers that a mix called “Tasty” or “Jazzy” is completely authentic may be a bit of a stretch.
Still, even if the mixes don’t immediately resonate with their target demographic, they might appeal to older generations who are interested in new regional flavors but aren’t quite ready to crush their own coriander seeds or blend their own harissa paste.
In any case, a partnership with a mega-platform that relies heavily on visuals is not a bad idea. From influencer campaigns to Kitchn tutorials, brands and ingredient groups are jumping on board with partnerships that lend them an air of expertise, authenticity and an approval in their product space.