Food professionals have ‘not enough time’ for social media, finds survey

By Caroline Scott-Thomas

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Social media, Social network service

Food industry R&D professionals have been slow to catch on to social media as a means of networking, according to the results of a new survey conducted on behalf of cheese ingredient company Sargento.

Privacy concerns and company policy were two of the most frequently cited reasons for not using social networking media in the office, but Sargento said: “Far and away, the most common reason for not using social media was not having enough time” – ​a factor cited by 36 percent of respondents.

The survey found that more than 60 percent of the 242 respondents did not use any social networking sites in their professional life. Of those who did use social media, LinkedIn was most popular, and Twitter attracted the lowest response.

Marketing director at Sargento Food Ingredients Jane Gapinski told FoodNavigator-USA.com that Sargento sent the survey to its customers in an effort to work out the most effective ways to communicate with them.

“We got feedback from our customer base indicating that they prefer to go on the web or talk to someone about their needs rather than go on LinkedIn or Facebook,”​ Gapinski said.

She added that company policy about social media sites can be a particular barrier to their use.

Change ahead?

“Many companies do have policies on social media such as Facebook. There are certain times of the day when people can get on,” ​she said. “…I think over the next 18 months once companies understand the power of social media sites, they will change their policy. As the younger generation enters the workforce it will become more and more prevalent in the way it’s used.”

For personal use, the survey uncovered a big divide between age groups, with 81 percent of respondents aged 20-39 using social media for non-professional purposes, compared to 30 percent of those aged 50-plus.

“The terminology could also be a problem: Social media – it’s too social, too personal,” ​Gapinski said.

In addition, Sargento found that its customers make an effort to stay current with the food industry, and E-newsletters are increasing in popularity over print versions, even though its respondents spend an average of under an hour a day online.

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