I have not always been savvy, or even any good, in the kitchen. But if you ask anyone I know or someone who follows me on instagram, they would tell you how much I love to cook. It’s genuinely one of my favourite things to do; it’s only in the past 4 years that I’ve become the more-domesticated person that I am now. It always used to be about convenience and speed, with little thought to experience or ingredients. ‘What is available now?’ is the mantra I lived by.
Now I don’t know what came first – me realising I should be utilising this completely unused room in my house or the influence of the ‘kitchen movement’, but all of a sudden I started cooking more and more. I’d like to think that it was a totally unique and personally-inspired behavioural change but when I think about it, it was when I began looking at social media and couldn’t see anything around me in the real world that looked as good as it did on my Instagram feed. I was seeing all of this amazing food from friends and celebrities, but I wasn’t doing it myself.
Little by little I became empowered to get in the kitchen and actually cook for myself, started eating healthier and taking a more whole-foods, balanced approached to what I ate. This ‘Kitchen Movement’ that I have found myself in has shaken the FMCG category to it’s core because we are shifting the category from more emphasis on product and into lifestyle.
Lifestyle brands like Deliciously Ella, Hemlsey & Hemsley, Joe Wicks ( a.k.a the Body Coach), Honestly Healthy, Madeline Shaw (‘Get the Glow’) are some of these Kitcheniors who turned their names into capital-B Brands to identify with. Instead of being vegan, you are ‘plant-based’ like Deliciouslly Ella. If you were interested in no refined-sugar and gluten free, then you’re with Hemsley & Hemsley. Looking to eat more balanced and loose weight? Quirky Joe Wicks with his ‘Midget Trees” (Broccoli) is for you. Of course the people who paved the way for these guys – Jamie Oliver, Nigella Lawson and Nigel Slater are the original Kitchen Movement Pioneers.
So what have all of these brands have in common?
1. Personal Experience
Each Brand has emerged from a personal experience – from being ill and needing a change of diet to thinking all weight loss diets were too complicated, or just simply there had to be a better way of cooking – that made them realise - surely other people out there had similar experiences and would take interest. This instantly humanises a brand and creates a humble creation story that people can relate to and be inspired by.
2. Ingredient Transparency
Rather than focusing on the end product, these kitchen-based brands are transparent about the ingredients they are using. One step further, they take you through the process of getting to that final product. They’re inventive with ingredients too and encourage you to think about everyday ingredients in a new way. The go-out-to-your-local-market-and-create-something-for-yourself empowerment sort of way that must mean what you’re eating must be good for you (even when you are using cream!) because you are in control of what you’re eating. When you can honestly talk about each ingredient that goes into a meal, there’s a level of trust that is a powerful tool for these brands.
I feel like I’m constantly learning something new from these people. Whether it’s which flavours go well together, the power of buying seasonal fruits and vegetables or what on earth bone broth is, these brands are empowering their followers to make informed decisions and encourage them to re-evaluate the world around them. I know I like to read a bit from Deliciouslly Ella, mix it with some Hemsley & Hemsley and then add a dash of Nigel Slater into my life for balance. They make me feel like I’m making the right decision for me and I love that.
4. Social Media & PR
Where would this movement be without it? A good Instagram is the equivalent to a chef starting it’s own food truck – it’s sizeable, easier to manage, has low overheads and can still be incredibly effective. You can create a very niche following and grow it into a full fledged brand. Getting a name out there and collaborating with other like-minded brands can get you anywhere.
Being successful in these four areas also allow a brand to grow. Hemsley & Hemsley can have a café in Selfridges because they have proven themselves in these four areas. Deliciously Ella can go into skin care because she is vegan and people trust that she will not put anything into her body that is harmful. Jamie Oliver can move into kitchenware because we see him using it on his TV programme so it must be good to use.
Any good cook knows that a good kitchen is an organised kitchen, and that mean everything has a home and place to live. A good food brand identifies an available spot for itself in your kitchen (and life) and makes itself at home.
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