‘Bloggers meet up’: Food for thought

Published: May 30, 2012
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A look into the rising trend of food bloggers in Pakistan. ILLUSTRATION: JAMAL KHURSHID

A look into the rising trend of food bloggers in Pakistan. ILLUSTRATION: JAMAL KHURSHID

KARACHI: 

At nearly every food launch these days there are more bloggers than reporters. In fact, invites to restaurant and cafe launches are titled as ‘Bloggers meet up’. From all the international chain launches recently, such as Snog, Tutti Frutti, Cinnabon or Gloria Jean’s Coffees to even local food initiatives like Bella Vita Gelateria, Cafe Ciao and Crepe Factory, blogging has taken precedence to create awareness either of the advent of a new food brand or its new menu on offer.

And because of this, the proliferation of food outlets and easy access to them via the web, blogging has become the ‘it’ thing to promote the industry. “Food bloggers are developing because of the growth in the food industry and not the other way around,” asserts Farah Kamal, a photographer and food blogger. “Customers would always be at the receiving end initially in every field not just food,” points out Kamal. “Blogging gives everyone a chance to voice their opinions, and most importantly, social media can help many women to come out and become entrepreneurs even from the confines of their homes.”

Kamal also provides unique insight, claiming that it is actually the public relations (PR) companies that have pushed for this ‘bloggers revolution’ (if you will) by encouraging companies to allow a new cadre of talent to write about their initiatives. Ayesha Nasir of Voila PR, for instance, relies heavily on bloggers for pre-event hype. “The reviews are instantly available and a lot of restaurants do not always have large budgets for marketing and social media is the most effective and cheapest way to publicise a restaurant,” she says. Lending credence to this trend, Aman Virji of the restaurant 44 says, “Since word of mouth is the best way of marketing in the food industry, social media gives the hospitality industry direct access to our consumers.”

It’s a blogger’s world

What is interesting is how food is the only industry in Pakistan to pick up on this quantum shift in global media where gradually the print medium has been rendered near obsolete as publishing rages online, resulting in a corresponding shift in the status of reporters versus bloggers. Finance professional turned food blogger Saira Malik regularly posts on food groups on Facebook and gets feedback through comments posted to her blog’s link on those groups which is her way of gauging that her thoughts carry weight.

While she agrees whole-heartedly with fellow blogger Kamal’s assessment, she argues that, “Initially bloggers used to provide perspective from the consumers’ point of view and now they’ve just become marketers for these restaurants.” Malik therefore insists on a code of ethics for bloggers.

While the reporter’s status may still be unchallenged in other arms of the entertainment industry, the food business is certainly shaking things up. “People have different tastes and palates and blogging allows for people to demonstrate varied comments and critique,” offers Nausheed Shehzad, Brand Manager at Food Connection Pakistan, as an explanation.

A courier delivery service, Blue Ex, is in essence a logistics and digital media company that is tapping into the growing food delivery market. Its young Director Strategy, Imran Baxamoosa, claims that, “Social media has dramatically changed the food landscape in Pakistan especially in the listings department. Before, all the restaurant details etc were distributed through traditional mediums such as flyers and newspaper ads, now there are targeted websites that cater particularly to restaurant listings.”

Published in The Express Tribune, May 31st, 2012.

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Reader Comments (7)

  • Ali S
    May 30, 2012 - 11:46PM

    Does ET seriously have nothing more important (or for that matter, engaging) to report than some meetings of bloggers in some plush restaurants of Karachi?Recommend

  • Parvez
    May 31, 2012 - 12:46AM

    The food and eating business is serious stuff. I find most of the write-ups are positive, gushy-gushy pieces. The critics or writers lack the confidence to say look this is bad or just unnecessarily expensive etc. By not doing this they are doing a dis-service to this industry.

    Recommend

  • curious
    May 31, 2012 - 1:39AM

    totally agree with @Ali S but one also needs to recognise that you do want information on innocent escapism and food blogging caters to that, as there is so much misery, stress in life at the moment, you do need a calming release and talking about yummy food is one of them.

    Recommend

  • hmmm
    May 31, 2012 - 9:52AM

    One Question… suppose a blogger is invited to such an event and finds the food el-pathetico and tooo expensive and writes it in so many words… would he/ she still be invited to more such events?
    ever came across a “blog” not an “article” but a “blog” entry that really criticised the food/restaurant / ambiance / price? anyone?
    —- and the silence roars!!!

    Recommend

  • May 31, 2012 - 3:44PM

    Online and social media is the way to go forward for small businesses and those in the hospitality industry, it is a step in the right direction, press releases, media coverage, and social media sites such as Facebook and blog sites play a big role in today”s marketing communication activities.

    Recommend

  • ashar
    May 31, 2012 - 4:53PM

    Sheer marketing stretegy. The title of the article should be reverse, Bloggers meet up, Thoughts for food.

    Recommend

  • Jun 2, 2012 - 5:56PM

    Great article! Meanwhile I think it would be worthwhile to give the due credit to Food Connection Pakistan ( http://www.fcpakistan.com ) for initiating the trend of getting the bloggers together on the forefront of food scene! Hats off Team FCPK!
    Recommend

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