Foods Dominated Facebook IQ’s Topics to Watch for December 2018

Bibim-guksu, crab dip, pimento cheese, ube halaya saw conversation gains

Food was top-of-mind for Facebook users in December
AndreyPopov/iStock

People on Facebook worked up quite an appetite during December, as bibim-guksu, crab dip, pimento cheese and ube halaya were all Topics to Watch for the month, according to the social network’s research arm, Facebook IQ.

Korean dish bibim-guksu and associated topics eating, food, kal-guksu, Korean language, noodle, noodle soup, ramen noodles, recipes, soup and Top Ramen saw conversation volume rise 5.7 times compared with December 2017 and 1.2 times versus November, driven by women 18 through 34.

Facebook IQ wrote, “Following the rise of K-beauty and K-pop, Korean cuisine is now also growing in popularity in the U.S., starting with dishes like bibim-guksu. This classic entree features cold wheat noodles and a blend of sweet, sour and spicy flavors from red chili flakes, garlic, sesame oil and vinegar. It’s relatively simple to make, and recipes are floating around the internet, instructing people on the best way to balance these distinctive ingredients. Along with these traditional recipes, restaurants are also embracing Korean fusion foods—creating cross-cultural dishes that expand American palates.”

Facebook IQ
Facebook IQ

Turning to seafood, crab dip and associated topics baking, cheese, crab, crab meat, crab rangoon, cream cheese, dipping sauce, food, Parmigiano-Reggiano and recipes edged up 1.6 times year-over-year and rose 6.6 times month-over-month, with women 35 and older leading the way.

The social network’s research arm wrote, “Crab dip brings together crab meat with either cream cheese or mayonnaise, and it is typically baked and eaten along with crackers or bread. A Maryland staple, crab dip is so popular there that it can be found everywhere from local restaurants to baseball stadiums. Now, the dip is spreading cross-country with the rise of the Ketogenic diet. Since the diet requires low carb options, many crab dip recipes naturally adhere to its guidelines (as long as servers leave out the bread and crackers on the side). As new diets gain steam, people are turning to traditional recipes that stick to the rules but still incorporate fond flavors.”

Facebook IQ
Facebook IQ

Taking a break from food, cryosphere—and associated topics Antarctica, Arctic, Arctic Sea ice decline, Earth, Greenland, NASA, NASA Goddard, Netflix, polar ice cap and YouTube—was up 1.3 times versus December 2017 and double November’s levels, driven by users 65 and up.

Facebook IQ wrote, “The cryosphere refers to any parts of the earth that have frozen water, such as glaciers, ice caps and permafrost. It’s commonly discussed in the context of climate concerns, as increases in global temperatures can disrupt these areas and prompt sea levels to rise. A new digital video series is gaining traction and bringing some of this science into the limelight. And people are increasingly discussing the environment and looking to not only find eco-friendly products, but also to understand the science behind climate change and explore possible solutions, like carbon dioxide removal.”

Facebook IQ
Facebook IQ

Women—especially those 18 through 24 and 65 and up—drove year-over-year conversation growth of 13.9 times and a month-to-month spike of 2.2 times about disposable product and associated topics biodegradation, drinking straw, landfill, Oregon, plastic, plastic pollution, plastic shopping bag, recycling, reuse and Taiwan.

Facebook’s research arm wrote, “Disposable products, or items that are intended to be used only once and then thrown away, are being scrutinized more and more. There have been nationwide debates on plastic straws and plastic shopping bags, and now, people seem to extending the conversation to other commonly discarded items. They’re putting the pressure on brands to find more sustainable ways of packaging their products, as well as taking matters into their own hands by reusing and recycling where possible. Some brands are responding by embracing biodegradable materials, like bamboo, or highly recyclable or reusable materials, like glass and metal. As environmental concerns mount, people are increasingly conscious of the disposable products on their lives and looking for alternatives.”

Facebook IQ
Facebook IQ

All of that recycling worked up Facebook users’ appetites, as pimento cheese and associated topics baking, cheddar cheese, cheese, dipping sauce, food, grilled cheese, palmetto cheese, saltine cracker, sandwich and tomato saw conversation rise 1.7 times compared with December 2017 and 1.2 times versus November, led by women 50 and older.

Facebook IQ wrote, “Known as the ‘caviar of the South,’ pimento cheese combines cheese, mayonnaise and pimentos and is often served in sandwiches or with bread, crackers and crudités. The exact recipe can be tweaked from state to state, with additions like hot sauce, cayenne peppers and jalapeños in Louisiana recipes. It even has its signature place on the menu during one of the major golf tournaments in Georgia. Now, this Southern staple is making its way to other parts of the country, as a major grocery chain announced in December that it would begin selling it in 2019, and restaurants are taking new spins on classic recipes by adding pimento cheese to their burgers, fried chicken and grilled cheese sandwiches.”

Facebook IQ
Facebook IQ

Finally, people on Facebook couldn’t leave the table without dessert—specifically Filipino dessert ube halaya and associated topics coconut, cooking, cream, delicacy, dessert, eating, halo-halo, milk, Philippines and recipes. Women 35 and up drove spikes in conversation of 4.7 times year-over-year and 1.2 times month-over-month.

Facebook IQ wrote, “Search #ube on Instagram, and you’ll see hundreds of thousands of posts of this electric-purple yam from the Philippines. It’s also the main ingredient in ube halaya—a Filipino dessert consisting of ube, condensed milk, coconut milk, butter and sugar—that’s growing in popularity across the U.S. Ube-based foods are praised for their aesthetic appeal, but people seem to embracing them for their health benefits, as well. Ube is said to be naturally low in carbs and fat, and it has some key vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Now, restaurants in the U.S. are incorporating ube into ice creams, doughnuts and other treats, and people are continuing sharing these purple delicacies—including the ever-classic ube halaya—on Facebook and Instagram.”

Facebook IQ
Facebook IQ

We learned these things from Facebook IQ’s latest data chart called Topics to Watch, which is designed to help marketers know what subjects to look out for on the social network. The topics are based on trending data, and Adweek readers get an exclusive look at them each month.

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