If a quick look through YouTube’s trending lists is anything to go by, the only thing better than food is talking about it. Since the online foodie explosion in 2015, high-quality original foodie channels have been a sure-fire way to tap into a young and engaged consumer base actively seeking out the next big thing. British filmmakers, in particular, have seen unparalleled success in the food video industry in the past few years. Top-level UK creators frequently lead YouTube rankings and U.S. viewers reportedly consume more UK-created food videos than the British! We’re taking a look at who’s who in food, covering everyone from cupcake influencers, to crowd-sharing recipes. How have 2015’s ‘foodtube’ juggernauts changed their approach to the sector?
With over 9.7 million subscribers and 572 uploads since 2010, Seattle-based channel Rosanna Pansino is the undisputed queen of foodtube. Pansino’s show ‘Nerdy Nummies’ combines a how-to cookery show presenting style with personality-driven YouTuber content. Her content often ties in with big-screen releases and geek culture. Videos vary from ‘How to Make a Frozen Princess Cake’ (currently standing at a whopping 177 million views), to making a ‘Chess Cake’, to even an original music video. Pansino’s wide-ranging, high energy content aims to provide a little something for every viewer. She consistently proves herself as one of foodtube’s furthest reaching foodie channels, often garnering over 20 million views a month.
Pansino is at the head of the huge food influencer market, sharing the table with big-name celebrity chefs like Jamie Oliver and ‘The Body Coach’ Joe Wicks. Naturally, she is rife with big-budget brand endorsements. Among Rosanna Pansino’s endorsement portfolio are multiple ‘Starbucks challenges’, alongside sponsorships from Audible and Apple on conventional content. Other brands working with Pansino include kitchenware company Wilton. Last year, they collaborated with Pansino to release a collection of branded baking tools, primarily marketed through her channel. She is currently listed at the #1 spot on Forbes’ 2017 food influencer list. It seems the Pansino bakery empire is only getting started.
Any and every young UK-based foodie is likely to have heard of these top-tier food content producers. The channel is led by four school friends: Barry James Taylor, Jamie Spafford, Mike Huttlestone, and Ben Ebrell. Their shared passion for all things gastronomical came together from a series of university pub outings. The group’s resident trainee chef would share recipes to save the others from awful student cooking. As the idea spread, more and more like-minded foodies wanted to get ahold of the group’s quick and easy recipes. And so, SortedFood was born.
The channel has seen a meteoric rise in the past few years, gaining over 1.8 million subscribers since its inception in 2010. The group pride themselves on being ‘picky’ with the content they produce and the brands they work with. In an interview with MarketingWeek, they noted that they don’t work with clients looking for media clients, claiming that the SortedFood brand is based on needing to ‘build up the community in the right way’. The group says that authenticity is at the core of what they do. They even state that when food brands come to them looking to include their products in a recipe, it ‘becomes a tricky conversation’. As Ebrell states, “If you don’t let [the fans] shape the food, or if the food is shaped by the brand or the sponsor, you run the risk of it not being something people actually want to see.”
We last visited Munchies in 2015 when the Vice-owned channel had only just started several months before. They had only just launched the channel’s flagship show F*ck That’s Delicious With Action Bronson. The channel has since been a major component of the VICELAND TV channel, with Action Bronson’s international primetime slot with the pre-watershed titled ‘The Untitled Action”. Still styling themselves as the indie/punk alternative to rival networks, the channel has now picked up party-boy chef Matty Matheson. He supplements Bronson’s scheduling with a far more how-to style of programming with his regular show ‘It’s Suppertime’.
The YouTube channel is still hosting regular exclusive content. Additionally, it has produced in the last couple of years the web-series ‘Munchies Guide to….’. The food programming-cum-travel guide has seen admittedly lower view-counts than the heady days of Munchies emergent genre days. However, they have carved themselves out a loyal niche of alternative-American in the world of foodie channels. With 100,000 to 2 million views per upload, the channel’s decidedly still a market leader in self-styled branded content.
3 years ago, Buzzfeed’s Tasty looked set to take over the food programming world. They were not only the leading food-based network on YouTube but multiple pieces of content became Facebook’s most-watched videos of all time. Today, though standing strong, they no longer hold the same sort of power over the industry. Despite a massive subscriber base of over 6.5 million users, their daily content garners around 100,000 views, down from the millions regularly seen in 2016.
This may be changing. Along with a line of branded cookware, Tasty have started investing more in Rosanna Pansino style personality led content. Videos like last week’s ‘We Recreated The Original Nestlé Wonder Ball’ see view counts up to 6 times that of regular content. More successful releases like ‘How to Make Mesmerising Japanese Deserts’ see views exceeding 1 million. This disparity shows a clear industry-wide trend of shifting toward presented, influencer style content and away from the heavily stylised 60-second content Tasty founded their empire on. As with almost all of today’s social platform video industry, the draw toward long-form content sets the tone for 2019. Foodie channels are no exception.