The rise and rise of the cookery show
It is a time of unprecedented plenty for the food and cookery show format on television in Britain. From Masterchef, to Jamie's 30 Minute Meals, to Gordon's Best Restaurant, TV executives know that the British public have a voracious appetite for the cookery show.
Latest insight from Kantar Media's TGI survey reveals that 7.2 million British adults now watch food and cookery TV programmes. This is supported by recent BARB viewing figures which show Masterchef pulled in around 5 million viewers per episode in the first week of its new series in January this year.
Of course, food programmes vary widely in format, from shows about the theatre of cooking like Gordon's Best Restaurant, to competitive cookery shows like Masterchef, to informative recipe shows like Jamie's 30 Minute Meals. TGI insight reveals that the audiences for these shows vary accordingly. For those who specially choose to watch Masterchef or Jamie's 30 Minute Meals, a love for food and cooking is clear, with both groups significantly more likely than the average adult to identify the kitchen as their favourite room in the house.
However, there are also some differences between these viewers, with fans of Jamie's food show being 40% more likely than the average adult to be influenced in their dietary habits by news about food, compared to 21% more likely for Masterchef viewers. This perhaps indicates the impact of Jamie Oliver on viewers, with many of his TV shows, like his school dinners campaign, themed around wider societal issues.
Food shows that are less about the recipes and more about the theatre of cooking, such as Gordon's Best Restaurant, attract a different type of viewer again and thus require a different approach from the marketer. Those who specially choose to watch Gordon Ramsey's Best Restaurant are less interested in food and more interested in the finer things in life. They are over twice as likely as the average British adult to keep up with the latest fashions and believe their car should catch people's attention. Style and design is more important to them than quality and they are 69% more likely to wear designer clothes.
In terms of what they do once the programme finishes, insight from TGI reveals that Masterchef-lovers are potentially more likely to follow up their love for cooking online. They are 20% more likely than the average British adult to regularly visit websites on a specific television channel or programme. This demonstrates the power of mainstream media to drive consumers to digital platforms. The good news for marketers seeking to reach this audience is that Masterchef-lovers are also 47% more likely than the average adult to have a family income of at least £50,000, indicating just how lucrative they could be.
Revealing another side to cooking show fanatics, Jamie Oliver-lovers are a particularly easily-influenced group. They are one third more likely than the average British adult to enjoy the adverts on TV as much as the programme. They are also 24% more likely to be tempted to buy products they have seen advertised and 36% more likely to agree that they cannot resist buying magazines - indicating the potential for reaching this group effectively across different media.
Despite being enthusiastic about cooking, time and work pressures mean that these food show fans cannot always prepare their meals from scratch. Latest findings from the TGI Worldpanel study - which provides insight into consumer purchasing of tens of thousands of FMCG brands - reveals those who usually watch cookery shows (and are the main shopper in their household) spent an average of £58.50 in the last six months on ready-made cooking sauces. This is significant when compared to the average main shopper in Britain who spent just £22 on these sauces. This indicates that these cooking-show lovers do not mind taking short cuts when it comes to cooking.
This love for cookery shows is not unique to Britain; variations of Masterchef have been shown in over 25 countries around the world, with Masterchef Australia being the most watched TV series in that country. Insight from Global TGI data also reveals the potential audience for such shows in Latin America. 48% of adults in Argentina's major metropolitan areas say they really enjoy cooking, as do 55% of adults in Mexico's metropolitan areas. This suggests the global popularity of cookery shows is a long way from subsiding.
As featured in MediaTel, February 2012