Gamer Grub

One of the most underserved markets in food & beverage is video gamers, of which there are nearly 3 billion worldwide. The market isn’t just huge, it’s hugely engaged. Even before the +65% increase in video game spending during the early weeks of the coronavirus lockdown1, global gamers across all age groups had substantially increased their playing time and the U.S. ranked 2nd in terms of hours spent per week.2

Graph showing hours playing videos games per week by age group
Graph showing hours playing videos games per week by country

In addition, gamers have birthed a new industry — eSports — where extraordinarily skilled and passionate players “go pro” and build careers competing not only online, but in concert halls, sports arenas and other venues3 in front of nearly 450 million global viewers.

So, why would this matter to CPG? Because of their unique eating habits and nutritional needs. As gamers among us report, while gaming requires the stamina and focus common amongst say, daily workers, it isn’t well suited for breaks in the action — especially in multiplayer scenarios or competitions. Gamers trying to complete tasks or working on teams cannot just stop to satisfy hunger and thirst, and often need to be prepared mentally and physically to perform for the duration — much like a traditional athlete.

Enter eSports nutrition. While the category is currently focused on supplements (pills, capsules, powders, gummies, etc.) and dabbling in snacks with a “created by Gamers, for Gamers” beef jerky,4 functional beverages are also emerging. One such example is Synapse, whose quarterly sales have consistently quadrupled by responding to unmet needs for a healthier, high-performance drink5 that enhances “focus, memory and energy” without stimulants (like caffeine).6

Drink Synapse website

Whether developing new products or marketing existing products to gamers, we do believe treating them like athletes — with healthy, performance-driven options — is the right direction. In addition, we encourage brands to message in context — within a gamer’s world — via dedicated platforms like Twitch, virtual events via Facebook and YouTube Gaming spaces, partnerships with professional eSports entities and promotions and/or product placement within popular games.

1 “Sales of video games soar as the coronavirus leaves millions trapped in their homes”, CNBC, 4/02/20
2 “Research Report Shows How Much Time We Spend Gaming”, Forbes, 3/21/19
3 “Esports Leagues Want Gamers to Root for the Home Team”, WSJ, 2/15/20
4 “Video gaming surge shows pivot opportunity from Sports to eSports, but authenticity is key”, Nutra Ingredients, 4/06/20
5 “From e-sports to mainstream, Synapse creates new category of functional beverages”, Food Navigator, 4/22/20

Take Your Best Shot

On March 24th, a national restaurant coalition launched “The Great American Takeout”, urging Americans to order at least one delivery or pick-up meal that day to support the industry.1 Recently, we at JT Mega launched our own campaign called “Turn the Tables Minnesota,” with outdoor billboards, social media, and spots on MPR, Pandora and Spotify, to promote ongoing support of the restaurants in our local community.

Let's takeout. Together. Support your local restaurants.

As we all do what we can to keep our beloved restaurants going — not just by ordering food and drink, but by posting and tagging our takeout on social media — we thought it would be a good time to share some tips and tricks for creating the most flattering photos of our food. Here are 5 things you can do, as recommended by JT Mega photographers and food stylists:

  1. Leverage natural light. It’s the most flattering and true. Move your food as close to a window as you can. Take advantage of the best light of day, from 11am–3pm. If you’re really serious about your shots, make a lighting sandwich: window on one side, food in the middle, large white sheet or board to reflect the light on the other.
photography tip: leverage natural light
  1. Optimize your camera position. Things like hot dogs, pasta, salad, soups and cocktails look great when shot from overhead. When it comes to things like burgers, sandwiches or beer, shoot from the side. If you shoot from the top, you’ll either get just bun, bread or foam and you want to showcase the deliciousness of the layers beneath; playing up as many of the food’s attributes as you can.
photography tip: optimize your camera position
  1. Avoid filters. We know. Instagram has a lot of cool ones. They look great on faces and even landscapes, but they are not your friend when it comes to food. You want food to look as authentic as possible.
  1. Consider your backdrop. When in doubt, use white, it allows the food to be the focal point.
  1. Keep it simple. Fight the urge to over-stage it by adding too many props. A plate or a fork or a takeout container can be enough.

Now get out there and Turn the Tables!

1 “Restaurant Coalition Launches The Great American Takeout Campaign”, Media Post, 3/22/20

Let's takeout. Together. Support your local restaurants.

Place a takeout order from your favorite neighborhood spots and tag the restaurant when you share your experience with #LetsTakeoutTogether.

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