Pinterest spotlight: #Food inspiration

Pinterest is a marketer’s best friend. Yet it very rarely gets the credit or attention it deserves. It has over 459 million monthly active users, and almost 90% of them report using the platform for purchase inspiration.  Pinterest’s impressive referral rates bear this out: the platform drives 33% more referral traffic to shopping websites than Facebook – its largest social media contender. And it’s only expected to grow. The platform has launched a number of new features – including an expanded partnership with the e-commerce tool Shopify, extended advertising options such as retargeting, and in-depth reporting. It’s, in short, a social commerce platform to be reckoned with – and so a great source of consumer insight.

The platform can also predict trends, rather than just see them happening. People use it early on in their inspiration journeys – so the things they’re pinning now are often things they will eventually buy.

Brands who aren’t paying attention to Pinterest are missing out on an opportunity to spot green sprouts, influence their audience and understand their customer journey. To show the sorts of insights that brands can gain from Pinterest, we’ve deep-dived into some of the platform’s most popular search topics.

Food tops the list. We, therefore, decided to analyse #FoodInspiration. And boy, did we find a lot. The three themes that dominated results for #FoodInspiration were:

Healthy home cooking

Since the Corona crisis, consumers have been cooking more and more at home. There is a new emphasis and prestige attached to anything homemade. Results therefore often feature DIY recipes from grandma’s kitchen: from homemade syrups and jams to freshly mixed lemonades.

Across the wide range of family recipes, we also find a strong focus on healthy eating. While there are some examples of comfort foods and ‘guilt pleasures’ like hamburgers and creamy pasta dishes, most posts feature low-fat, nutritious recipes. Check out some examples below:

Users clearly want foods, recipes and ingredients that deliver health benefits. We see that superfoods are especially popular: berries, kale, Moon milk, almond yoghurt, ginger tops the list.

The dominant health focus is sometimes taken even further. Several posts show different kinds of diet plans – especially the Keto diet.

This suggests people look to Pinterest to help them make larger lifestyle changes. Brands can do more to accommodate this need. Gyms and fitness centres can advertise their services. Fashion brands can share clothes and shoes for different activities and sizes. Use the platform, in short, to be a part of your audience’s lifestyle goals and you’ll be awarded handsomely by the users.

Meat-free options

Across the #Food Inspiration search results, there are plenty of vegetarian recipes. It seems that people are trying to cut down on their meat consumption by finding vegetarian alternatives to their favourite everyday foods. Asian foods, brunches and packed lunch recipes therefore often profile themselves as vegetarian. See some examples below:

There are also some, but significantly fewer, vegan search results. Those that do come up actively promote or are closely associated with various health benefits, suggesting people seek out vegan food more for health reasons than a desire to avoid meat.

Bringing the restaurant experience home

The search results show that aesthetics are essential for food to be considered inspirational. We see this in several different ways. Firstly, we find a predominance of colourful and eye-catching foods. Certain fruits, vegetables and ingredients seem especially popular and exalted in pictures because of their brilliant colours – such as bright yellow turmeric, pink pomegranate and green matcha. Eye-catching textures such as creamy surfaces with various toppings or tempting colourful layers are also popular.



We see, secondly, that users are trying to recreate the restaurant aesthetic at home by placing a great deal of emphasis and effort on ambitious plating. Spending long periods at home during lockdown may have led many to want to seek out novelty, vamp their meals and recreate the restaurant experience. Here are some examples below:


The undoubtedly biggest serving and plating trend was serving boards. Move over, classic cheese and charcuterie boards: everything that can be served on a board should now, it seems, be served on a board for peak elegance. We found everything from pancake boards, taco boards, breakfast boards, mezze boards, dessert boards, to party boards and chocolate boards.

So as we can see, it seems that people are increasingly happy to move away from the rich and comforting foods of the past – and brands should too. Minimalism – in the form of homemade vegetarian food ideally made using healthy and vibrant ingredients – is beautiful.

With an increased focus on the environment and a newfound appreciation of nature and the home following Covid lockdowns, brands can expect food minimalism to continue to appeal to consumers. So keep on checking Pinterest for insights into what your audience is searching for and finding. You’ll have front row seats to how the market is moving.


By Louise Alestam


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