How Brands Can Blend Into Home Cooking Moments

As the effects of a global quarantine in 2020 rewire daily lives, home cooking is ripe for a revival, and Spotify is quickly becoming the ideal kitchen companion for amateur cooks and pro-chefs alike.

Our Streaming Intelligence has some pretty cool data to show what we mean. Since quarantine took hold, some of the fastest growing playlists are cooking playlists: Fresh Kitchen Beats, Cooking Music, and Hip Hop BBQ to be precise.1

This is happening across devices, too: From January to March, streams of cooking-related music playlists increased on smartspeakers, TVs, game consoles, and desktop computers.2

In other words, music and podcasts are becoming ideal ingredients for that perfect meal as people do more home cooking. (This raises the age-old question: Which came first, the chicken or the sounds that helped you make the chicken?)

“Music and food go hand in hand,” writes Kwame Onwuachi, Chef of D.C.’s Kith/Kin and recent guest of our Spotify Supper at Home virtual experience. “You want to hear something that makes you happy while cooking. That’s what produces the best flavors.“

Mixing in Your Messaging

The value for brands is a no-brainer: Know your context and you’ll nail your messaging. So how can you have a seat at the dinner table? Let’s use a few case studies as examples, starting with Target.

To motivate listeners to shop at Target while helping families have fun in the kitchen, Spotify and Target created “Mealtime Maestro,” a branded version of Spotify’s turkey timer. Just enter your bird’s weight, pick your favorite tempo, and voila—out pops a fully-baked playlist in the time it takes to cook your turkey.

“Mealtime Maestro” proves that playlists can reflect more than our moods. They have the power to enhance everyday moments like studying for an exam, sweating through a workout, and yes, even cooking a fifteen pound fowl.

Target joined the kitchen conversation in an authentic way, and you can too. With the rise in connected device listening, especially in the kitchen, it’s easier than ever for listeners to pair their prep time with a side of smooth jazz or a savory podcast.3

Or maybe you want to skip the food pairing altogether and simply “taste” the music itself? That’s what we did with Brazilian brand Tramontina in their “Flavor of Songs” campaign.

Inspired by the phenomenon of synesthesia—the blending of senses that allow some people to “taste” sounds or “feel” colors—Tramontina classified millions of songs available in Spotify’s database.

If you’ve ever wondered what Beethoven's Symphony No. 5 in C Minor tastes like, wonder no more: Foie gras terrine with salmon caviar and cold barley. (Of course.)

Cooking Under Quarantine

So what? Well, more people aren’t just WFH anymore—more of us are Cooking From Home (CFH), too. Insights into CFH culture can be an opportunity for marketers and strategists to reorient their messaging for these new culinary moments.

For example, people who cook from home are more mindful of their eating habits than people who eat out. (Health and wellness brands, take note.)

There are also broader applications to any brand looking to align with self-improvement. After all, families everywhere are now picking up culinary skills for the very first time, a chance for brands to speak to this “growth mindset” in the kitchen.

Finally, CFH culture is an opportunity to share your brand’s values around connection and community. “Home cooking teaches you that we are more similar than we are different,” writes Chef Onwuachi. “You can travel oceans on a plate. Cooking connects people in so many ways.”

Evan Hanczor, Chef of Egg Restaurant in New York City, nods in agreement: “We've seen so much connection sprout from this new situation we find ourselves in. Personally, I've started swapping breads with my neighbors, dropping chickens on our friends' doorsteps, sharing tips and recipes, really connecting around food in such simple but critical ways.”

We’ll help ourselves to seconds of that.

If you want starter tunes for your next cooking experiment, check out Chef Kwame Onwuachi’s cooking playlist below, or tune in to our next Spotify Supper at Home event on Thursday, April 30 at 5PM ET, with Chef Tim Hollingsworth hosting a family-friendly edition.

1 Spotify Internal Data, January vs. March 2020, US
2 Spotify Internal Data, January vs. March 2020, Global
3 Edison Research’s Smart Audio Report