Is Food The New Merch For Creators? And Are Ghost Kitchens The Next Frontier?

By 11/24/2020
Is Food The New Merch For Creators? And Are Ghost Kitchens The Next Frontier?

Food is one of the most popular content categories on YouTube, so it would follow that creators in the space might pursue culinary merch products — rather than or in addition to traditional apparel items — in building their burgeoning online empires.

And beyond the Rosanna Pansinos and Sean Evanses of the world, even non-food YouTube creators — like David Dobrik (who is rumored to be getting into the pizza business), coffee entrepreneur Emma Chamberlain, and The Try Guys‘ Keith Habersberger (hot sauce) and Zach Kornfeld (looseleaf tea) — are trying their hands at culinary ventures.

In many ways, says Kornfeld — who sold out of the 25,000-piece initial run for his Zadiko tea brand — launching a food product harnesses the same skills as being a video creator.

“The product is just step one, but then you need the graphic design and the marketing, and, above all, the story,” Kornfeld tells Tubefilter in the latest episode of Creator News.

Kornfeld, for his part, suffers from chronic pain and inflammation, and thus established Zadiko to redress these concerns. “What is this thing — what is the why behind it, what is it about, and what function is it going to serve in a consumers’ lives? And that, surprisingly, is very in tune with our experience of making videos online.”

While food merch may be subject to more legal regulation and boast smaller margins than other ventures, like apparel, there are also distinct advantages to playing in the space — particularly with respect to repurchasing prospects.

“This is so much cooler,” says Habersberger of his not-too-hot hot sauce brand, which has sold 100,000 bottles to date, “because this is in your kitchen and you see it every day. You don’t wear your shirt every day, but you open your fridge and I’m in there.”

And in addition to launching their own food products, the next generation of creators looks to be harnessing something of a novel phenomenon in the restaurant industry known as ghost kitchens. Ghost kitchens refer to cooking facilities that also furnish delivery-only meals — a particularly compelling proposition during the coronavirus pandemic.

 

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Instagram influencer Kelsey Calemine, for instance — known to her 2.7 million followers as Father Kels — launched a food delivery service in September called Father Foods that vends charcuterie and sandwich boxes in Los Angeles.

You can check out more in our latest episode of Creator News above, or right here.

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