BuzzFeed Tasty: “The culinary world can be intimidating”

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I don’t think that many people reading this can say that they haven’t seen a Tasty video popping up on their Facebook or Instagram over the last few years. Tasty is part of the American digital media company, BuzzFeed, which focuses on tracking viral content, and was started five years ago. The Tasty brand creates short videos showing how to cook comfort food in a way that’s visually appealing and easy to follow. The series was originally made for Facebook, where it has over 100 million followers, but has since expanded to Instagram, where it has over 38 million followers and YouTube, where it has over 19 million subscribers.

Chloe Morgan, Senior Culinary Creative at BuzzFeed’s Tasty, explains why it is that Tasty has gone viral and how the team keeps up with the latest food trends.

Chloe explains that “BuzzFeed as a brand is all about relatable content”. Hence, the Tasty channel chose to share their recipes by creating videos, which are much easier to follow than a cookery book, since the almost “hypnotic” visuals help to guide even the most basic of cooks through the accessible recipes.

Chloe adds that “the world of cookery can be very intimidating”, and so the Tasty videos help viewers see the food “from the cook’s perspective”, which helps the public to feel as if the recipes are more do-able; “the key is to make everything look effortless”.

Chloe emphasises how important it is for the team to be up to date with the latest food trends, explaining that “seasonality is a big thing”. During the summer, the focus is on BBQ food, whereas during the festive season, viewers will be on the lookout for Christmas canapés and warming dishes. Over the last few years, Tasty has also tapped into the ever-growing vegetarian and vegan markets, to reflect the demands of the public. She explains how the best way to find out what the public are looking for is to read the comments on the Tasty videos; “everyone has a voice these days”. In fact, something that Tasty have adapted to, in response to consumer demand was to show “the hands behind the video”, giving the chef creating the content an identity, allowing viewers to feel almost as if they know the creators.

In terms of the way that the pandemic has changed engagement with Tasty, Chloe explains that “at the start of lockdown, we saw a lot more interaction and [we] really had to move quickly on what people wanted to see…everyone was into baking and banana bread was huge!”.

It was crucial that the team adapted to the rapidly changing situation, to be able to provide content that people were searching for during lockdown. With restrictions preventing the team from going into work, Chloe was filming videos on her iPhone in her kitchen, “and people really loved that!”, since this made the videos seem more achievable and realistic. In terms of the preparation for the content, Tasty videos will typically be put together within the day and will then take a further few days to edit, before being posted on Tasty’s social media platforms.

Although Tasty originates in the US, it now has online presence in eight countries, including Japan, Australia and Spain, and is a worldwide phenomenon. Chloe explains how “every market has to cater for that country”, in the same way as how Tasty had to cater to the demands for more baking videos during lockdown. She adds that “what does well in each market varies so much”, giving the example of Tasty in Germany that loves putting hot dogs in their recipes, due to the prominence of the German Currywurst (fried pork sausage). She emphasises the importance of authenticity when creating a dish that is traditional in its country, “the people from these countries know what’s authentic at the end of the day – when we create a recipe that has some cultural relevance, it’s so important to get it bang on”. For Tasty, a key element of success is creating recipes which people of all ages and nationalities can relate to. It’s important that the teams in each country are coming up with content specific to their country, since this keeps the videos relevant and engaging. Chloe adds that Tasty’s main competitors are Twisted and Taste Made, but that these channels have “a different tone of voice”.

From rudimentary student cooking to the most technical of dinner parties, Tasty really does have something for everyone. So, whether the ‘Cinnamon Sugar Donut Cones’ or the ‘Chicken Curry Naan Bowls’ are your thing, Tasty is there to cater to your every culinary need.

Image: Tasty

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