Copywriting for food. One word grew sales 28%!

Love your food? Me too. It’s one of my passions, like writing, which you’d probably expect from someone who runs copywriting agency. And sometimes we’re lucky enough for the two worlds to come together when we’re copywriting for food with origin stories for new brands or mouthwatering descriptions on labels.

So, I was chuffed to come across this fascinating research by Brian Wansink and Katie Love, picked up by Cornell University in the US. It’s really reminded me how important good freelance copywriting and thoughtful content can be to perceptions – and sales!

It seems that whether you’re writing it yourself or buying in professional copywriting services, when you make even small changes, it really affects how people perceive what they eat.

Researchers looked at copywriting for food in menu items across 30 diners. They then made small written adjustments to the descriptions, and the impact was huge. Not just on the taste people experienced but on what people ordered – and what they were willing to pay

Beanz Meanz SALES

In one example, the researchers took a starter called ‘Red Beans and Rice’; and changed its name to ‘Cajun Red Beans and Rice’. There were no other changes to the recipe, dining experience or presentation, just the name. And guess what? Customers said the food was tastier. And it wasn’t just taste. Sales of that starter went up 28%. Those are results any freelance writer would be delighted about – and any client too.

It was just one word. But for those of us offering professional copywriting services, we know that can make all the difference. That word worked hard, by adding something exciting: cultural credentials and a load of other personal perceptions.

“…taste resides not only in our mouths, but our minds play a crucial role in the way that we perceive taste. Our expectations of what a food will taste like can “trick” our taste buds into thinking the food tastes better than it does.” – Food and brand lab at Cornell University

Real, measurable impact

BUT it wasn’t just that they sold more ‘Cajun Red Beans and Rice’ – customers were actually willing to pay more – across all the tests (on various menu items at 30 diners), on average they were willing to pay 12% more. Now, whether you’re a copywriter yourself or you’re looking for a professional writer, that’s some measurable impact we can all get behind.

It’s amazing what a freelance copywriter can do with just one word, whether they’re copywriting for food or something else, small, it seems, is mighty.

Now, I’m in the mood for a snack…

Alex Genn

View posts by Alex Genn
I run a team of 25 senior-level copywriters and am myself a professional copywriter with over 15 years' experience.
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