Recipe for Love: How Food is Influencing Online Dating

We’ve all heard the saying the way to a wo/man’s heart is through their stomach. So, it shouldn’t be a surprise to learn food plays a central role in people’s feelings toward each other. It may even be a predictor of the people we find ourselves attracted to. Let me explain.

Dating apps have revolutionized modern love. They not only make it easy to find a like-minded significant other, they’re also the “holy grail” to marketing insight. Each dating profile contains vital information such as age, geographical location, likes, dislikes and preferences from favorite foods to activities, offering unrivaled marketing insight.

Let’s put it into perspective. Tinder, the largest mobile dating app, globally processes 1.6 billion swipes and 26 million matches per day. Their customers spend up to 90 minutes a day in the app, making it a very powerful medium.

But how does food fit into the online dating world?

The Foods We Love Are One of Our Greatest Assets

Dating app Zoosk recently analyzed nearly 4 million dating profiles and more than 350 million first messages and found that mentioning different foods and food-related phrases influences the romantic interactions of online daters. And well beyond the references to food, our eating habits can be a good indicator of what people have in common. On their dating profiles, people proudly proclaim being gluten-free or vegan or even proud meat eaters, giving it the same level of importance as a personality trait.

When all was said and done, it seems we really are what we eat, and food preferences definitely help shape our impression of others.

Food Sushi Marketing Dating AppsMentioning Food Increases Your Chance of a Match

So it turns out, talking about food in your profile makes you more attractive. More specifically, Zoosk’s analysis found that any mention of food in an online dating profile resulted in an increase of inbound messages, particularly with foods such as guacamole, potatoes and chocolate. In fact, users with these foods in their profile received double the number of incoming messages over the average profile. Profiles containing the word foodie receive 82% more incoming messages, while those who mention the word cook receive and increase of 26% in incoming messages.

So with food playing a leading role in online dating conversations and apps becoming more advanced, how can food marketers tap into this unique audience?

A Few Food Brands Who Are Successfully ‘Swiping’ Right

Starbucks and

According to, more than one in three singles said that having coffee together is a favorite activity for a first date. Starbucks took noticed and teamed up with Match for a whimsical partnership.  Since then hundreds of thousands of members have added a Starbucks badge to their profile indicating a love for the brand. Match added a feature to allow app users the ability send a direct invitation to another member for a first date with the “Meet at Starbucks” feature.  With that in mind, Starbucks hosted the world’s largest coffee date on Feb. 13, offering special menu pairings featuring a selection of coffee and treats available for $5 (US).

Dominos and Tinder

With 85% of its 50 million users in the 18 to 34-year-old demographic, Tinder offers brands an opportunity to reach today’s much sought after younger audience. Progressive pizza giant Dominos jumped right in on Valentine’s Day, offering Tinder users the chance to swipe right in order to get special discounts and free pizza. The brand received over 700 matches and had an estimated reach of approximately 200,000 people.

Samsung and

If you think a person’s refrigerator can tell you a lot about their personality, you’re not alone. Samsung offers a new service giving people the opportunity to bond over their perishables. They even coined a new term and created their own app for this creative form of dating. Refrigerdating. It’s free and members simply share pictures of their refrigerators and food in lieu of the typical profile picture. Clearly meant to spur conversation about its new app-enabled fridge, Samsung hasn’t committed to how long its dating app will be around, but it rightfully received a lot of media attention for its clever marketing.

Food Marketers, it’s Time to Go Dating

Analyst at Nomura Instinet project the online dating market to grow to $12 billion by 2020. If they’re right, now is the time for food brands to position themselves within these platforms. So when you’re planning your next food campaign, remember online dating audiences are primed to hear your message. Look for opportunities to create conversations, ask questions, charm them and engage with them.

In short, this is a perfect environment to apply your best “dating” tactics. Don’t be afraid to think out of the box. Remember it’s important to invest the time to get to know each unique platform. Understanding the nuances of engagement will hopefully help you build more long-term “relationships” between you and your customer.

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Emily Nordee PR Director EvansHardy+Young
Emily Nordee-Rogers, PR Director

After earning degrees in both Nutritional Science and Viticulture from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, Emily spent several years working at top NYC communications agencies. Now she’s brought that big city energy and in-depth knowledge of food marketing to us, where she plays a leading role on the California Walnuts, Lamb Weston and Avocados From Peru PR business.