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Issue 012
Cowboy Caviar courtesy of The Girl Who Ate Everything
Cowboy Caviar, courtesy The Girl Who Ate Everything

Welcome to another issue of Eats Index, everybody!

We are excited about what we’ve got in store for you today. And dare we say . . . this is the best issue of Eats Index so far this year!

(Also, ahem, welcome to the first Eats Index of the new year.)

There’s really a lot of good stuff to share, so let’s get to it...

Poached Egg Breakfast

BRUNCH IS BETTER

Datassential reports that brunch mentions are expected to increase 15% over the next four years.

Why will brunch be more talked about? The answer basically comes down to marketing.

Brunch is just an inherently appealing concept.

Wouldn’t you like to be invited to a friend’s house for brunch? Breakfast is too early. And lunch? Lunch is a pretty ho-hum meal. It’s part of getting through the day, like brushing your teeth.

That’s the feeling, it seems. Buzz is building around brunch, so we’ll be seeing more recipes that put a new, “brunch spin” on dishes. Brunch burgers are a perfect example – but the time-of-day lines are being blurred on other dishes, too.

For instance, ten years ago you’d hardly ever see chicken served in the morning. But these days, poultry is no longer confined to lunch and dinner. (Indeed, Chik-fil-A offers many chicken items in the AM, and they’ve been very successful.)

Burgers, burritos, tacos, and salads are some of the fastest-growing items on restaurant breakfast menus. It’s time to re-think what to serve when!

What this means for food bloggers:   Well, it’s pretty clear: you could gain some traction with brunch recipes – and with creative “brunch takes” on other recipes. To start you thinking along these lines, how about a brunch fondue? Or a brunch brownie bar?

Mushroom Skillet

MUSHROOMS MEET MEAT!

Are you familiar with “the Blend?” We’re happy to report that it’s not the name of a new dance craze...

Instead, the Blend is the practice of combining ground meat with chopped mushrooms. The idea is that mushrooms themselves have a nice, meaty texture.

The primary goal is to provide more of a meaty texture with . . . less meat.

Adding mushrooms to meat brings the cost of a dish down, of course. Adding mushrooms is also purported to be positive for sustainability and the environment.

Burgers are the primary place where chefs and restaurants are using the Blend, but it’s reported to work wherever ground meat is called for, such as in meatloaf, tacos, pasta sauce, meatballs and chili.

Flexitarian Trend

The Blend does seem ideal for people pursuing flexitarian diets (which themselves are becoming a trend), where people don’t forego meat all the time, but try to reduce their overall consumption of it.

Big surprise here: The Blend is being actively promoted by the Mushroom Council. They’ve even trademarked the term. And created a website dedicated to the idea.

The Packer – a news organization covering the fresh produce industry – reports that 42% of colleges are serving the Blend. That is rather a lot!

Some more info from The Packer:

Two-thirds of [college food services] plan to increase blend servings over the next two years, and 43% say they will increase blended servings because students like and/or are requesting blended products.

What this means for food bloggers:   We see the Blend growing in popularity. There is a real opportunity here for bloggers to create recipes using it.

Many young people are being exposed to the Blend. Did you see the statistic above – that students are actively requesting this type of meat-mushroom mix? In the future, these same students may well become home cooks who seek recipes that feature such mixes.

Further, we’re not married to mushrooms here. Maybe there are other ways of extending the meatiness of a dish via vegetables. Experiments on that front could be interesting – and be of interest to your readers.

Let us know what you think!

Pineapples

THE NEXT HEALTH CRAZE: PINEAPPLE JUICE?

These days, fermented foods are widely believed to promote ‘gut health.’ You’ve probably seen a huge upswing in the popularity of fermented foods, like kombucha, sauerkraut, probiotic yogurt, and more. (For the record, there really aren’t a lot of less appetizing words in English than “gut health,” are there?)

Well, prepare to meet tepache (pronounced tay-pah-chay), fermented pineapple juice that originates in Mexico. We’re seeing reports of it becoming a popular trend.

Actually, tepache is made from the peel and the rind of pineapples. So it also could be popular with sustainability advocates who want to use more of given food items, with less parts thrown in the trash.

Tepache

Making tepache is simple and quick. It is definitely doable in home kitchens.

What this means for food bloggers:   While we’ve found a number of recipes for tepache out there (like this one from Mexico in My Kitchen), we didn’t see many that used it as a jumping off point.

As an example, what about tepache cupcakes for brunch? Or as part of a sauce to accompany berries? We even looked for a recipe for tepache lemonade – and found nothing. You could certainly capitalize on this coming trend!

Recipe Headlines

WRITING RECIPE HEADLINES

The Search Engine Journal recently published an article by Kristi Kellogg titled “Eleven Headline Writing Tips to Drive Traffic and Clicks.”

The article is very relevant to food bloggers – and is definitely worth your taking five minutes to read.

As Kristi writes there, the best headlines are:

1. Relevant to the content
2. Contain a keyword
3. Generate interest

You probably try to do those three things with your every headline, right?

For #2, making sure the headline has a keyword, Kristi says “always do keyword research to find out what people are actually searching for.” That’s really good advice – that’s unfortunately all too easy to skip.

Do you do keyword research before you post a new recipe? We know food bloggers who do – and some who don’t.

If you take the time to do this, though, people may be finding your post via search engines for years to come. It’s worthwhile!

#3 is probably the toughest suggestion on the list. Making sure that your headline is relevant to your post – that’s a no brainer. Ensuring that there are keywords in your headline – that’s doable. But generating interest? That is harder. It can be subjective.

Luckily, Kristi includes some excellent suggestions, including:

Know that sometimes short and sweet is a-ok
Ask a Question

The Eats Index staff has some suggestions, too, to help your headlines generate interest:

Use humor. There a lot of food blogs out there, of course. But only you have your unique personality. If you have a wry perspective, great – use it. Humor is certainly interesting! If you don’t feel confident in your sense of humor, you can emphasize other personality traits, like positivity, incisiveness, energy, etc.

Use “power” words. You can find lists of powerful and proven words around the internet. Here’s one we googled up that looks pretty good. Lists like these can give you ideas and nudge your brain into writing more interesting headlines.

One example of a solid headline is simply Better Than A Boyfriend Brownies from Modern Honey. Apparently Melissa at Modern Honey didn’t invite that title – there are other recipes out there for these brownies – but that name is definitely keyword-friendly, relevant, and interest generating!

What do you think? Will the suggestions here help you title your posts and recipes?

Gmail View

YOUR EMAIL LIST IS A BIG ASSET

There’s always money in the banana stand!!

Does anyone know where that quote comes from? Click reply and email us if you do. We’ll send you some fabulous free Eats Index merch.

We wanted to announce our ongoing series on growing and using your email list. Here at Eats Index, email newsletters are what we do, so this topic is quite near and dear to our hearts.

So please consider this a reminder that your email list of subscribers should be a focus and a priority!

Google changes their algorithm. You can’t always rely on people finding you or your recipes through search engines, unfortunately.

Social media – Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Youtube, etc. – ultimately want to be paid for post promotion and ads. You can’t rely on them either.

But an email list that you’ve grown – a collection of people who want to hear from you – that is valuable! And it’s a way for you to have direct communication with your audience, without interference from a big, fickle internet company!

We’ll start off the series with a quick tip:

Emails should be a two-way street. Your subscribers should be able to click ‘reply’ to send you an email.

Maybe that’s obvious, but we subscribe to many food bloggers, and we’ve seen some send recipes from “donotreply” addresses. No good!

Further, you should encourage your subscribers to click reply occasionally. This builds engagement with you.

And you know that your messages aren’t winding up in spam folders when a reader is directly emailing you.

What do you think about this tip? Click reply now and let us know! ☺️

And please watch this space for more email tips from us. Coming soon!

Winking Chef

NIFTY NAMES FOR FOOD BLOGS

As we have mentioned elsewhere, we really do love food blogs. They are fun, they are positive, they nourish people, and they can bring folks together! There’s a lot to like in this space!

Another thing we like about food blogs is that many have clever names. We’d like to mention a few to you. Check these out . . .

I Heart Naptime
Gonna Want Seconds
Don’t Go Bacon My Heart
I Breathe I’m Hungry

Pretty fun, all of those! Which name is your favorite? Do you have any favorite food blog recipes that are as good as these?


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