When you hear the term “food fight,” what comes to mind? Perhaps you think of John Belushi and his Animal House buddies heaving cafeteria entrees at their fraternity rivals.

But a much more serious food fight is being waged between competing foodservice trade publications and websites. And the stakes are certainly higher.

Foodservice magazines and websites are competing fiercely for the attention of operators, and for many titles, it’s the fight of their lives. That’s because operators have very little time to spare and trade media is not high on the priority list.

So the battle rages on and intriguing questions surface:

Which foodservice trade publications are operators reading?

How often do they use the titles?

Do they prefer their information via print or web?

The answers to those questions are among the revelations of a new foodservice industry research study conducted with operators nationwide. The “Media Consumption Behaviors and the Decision-Making Journey of Foodservice Operators” Study was developed by Boomm Marketing & Communications to help foodservice marketing professionals make better-informed choices when creating communications strategies. The research was conducted by leading foodservice research firm Product Evaluations.

In order to the make the research study truly actionable to foodservice marketers, the findings were aligned to a decision-making path that follows the sales funnel. Using this structure, marketers can pinpoint which sources had the most influence at different purchase decision stages.

Many contenders, few heavyweights

One of the more compelling findings of the study was the sheer number of foodservice magazines and websites that are referenced and the small margins separating them. Operators cited 19 total media titles that helped guide their purchase decisions, but not a single publication or website was used by a majority of operators on a regular basis.

foodservice trade publications

In addition, the average number of media titles used at least once a month by operators was low. Commercial operators used at least 2.2 titles and non-commercial operators used at least 2.8.

New trade media preferences infographic

To learn more about the trade media that foodservice operators use to guide their purchase decisions, check out the new infographic.

In addition, a series of white papers from the new food industry research study are available for download now. They follow the buyer’s journey for a number of important purchase decisions aligned to the sales funnel and show where different segments of the industry turn for information.