Brands beware potential backlash when talking about healthy eating on social

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Latest insight reveals conversations on healthy eating are rising year on year, but it’s not all positive

The latest immediate future report, using data analysed from Brandwatch, looks at the rising ‘healthy eating’ and ‘healthy food’ conversations on social media in the UK. Whilst most posts are positive, there is a significant number of passionately angry and disgruntled ones. The backlash spikes around those organisations pushing the healthy eating agenda such as brands, government and celebrity chefs. For brands venturing into this topic, it is essential to consider planning in advance and staying away from political and divisive subjects.

Katy Howell, CEO at immediate future, says: “Shares, accounting for almost 40% of social posts, are driven by two core behaviours: anger (and some pretty spicy language), at the affordability and cost of eating healthy food; and the making of healthy foods, from recipes and planning, to food origins.”

Across the board the topic of affordability wraps around wider discussions of policy, politics, poverty and celebrity comments. It touches a lot of subjects. It’s brands not being seen as authentic or honest, government intervention that appears to ignore poorer communities and some chefs and public figures that are viewed as patronising.

Social data analysed using social intelligence tool, Brandwatch, shows that 39% of posts around cost, mention the issue of affordability of healthy food options and 30% declare eating well is expensive. And it’s the 42% men on social, talking healthy eating, that tend to rant the most!

Rising year on year healthy eating is predicted to continue an upward trend on social. The conversations don’t just spike in January, they run through the year as UK consumers are increasingly conscious of, and educated about, what they eat. For relevant brands this is an opportunity to raise awareness and engage with consumers in a shopping category that is burgeoning.

Katy continues: “Joining the healthy food trends is perfect for food, fitness and weight-loss brands. However, companies must plan. Awareness of the topics that both spark debate and anger should form part of your brand’s approach. Transparency and authenticity are key if you don’t want to be battling negativity on social.”

The report, reviews a year’s worth of social data, looking at posts that mention healthy eating and healthy foods and it’s available for free at

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