Facebook Users Were Hungry and Thirsty in January

Buttermilk, Cacio e Pepe and West African cuisine were Topics to Watch

Food blogs in America are touting the benefits of drinking buttermilk welcomeinside/iStock
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Drinking buttermilk is beginning to catch on in the U.S., helping to make it one of Facebook IQ’s Topics to Watch for January 2020.

Conversation about buttermilk and associated topics baking powder, butter, cake, cornmeal, cream, flour, icing, onion, sodium bicarbonate and sugar was up 19 times compared with January 2019 and 2.8 times versus December 2019, dominated by women 35 and older.

Facebook IQ wrote, “Buttermilk is a fermented dairy-based liquid. Like yogurt, it has live cultures and is a source of probiotics, protein and calcium. While buttermilk has primarily been used as a baking ingredient in the U.S., it has a longstanding history as a beverage in South Asia. Now, food blogs in America are touting the benefits of drinking buttermilk, citing its sour yet refreshing taste and its many health properties. The thirst for buttermilk is growing, as people find different ways to integrate it into their diets.”

Facebook IQ
Facebook IQ

Facebook users also showed an appetite for cacio e pepe in January, with both genders spearheading increases of 2.6 times year-over-year and double compared with December 2019, and women 35 and older behind slightly more of the push.

Associated topics included amatriciana sauce, black pepper, carbonara, cheese, chili pepper, cooking, guanciale, pasta, side dish and spaghetti.

The social network’s research arm wrote, “A classic yet simple dish, cacio e pepe has four key ingredients: black pepper, pecorino Romano cheese, olive oil and spaghetti. It’s having its moment in the limelight, with restaurants presenting it as an elevated macaroni and cheese, and people finding easy recipes to prepare it at home. Vegan recipes are even becoming popular; given that the dish is simple and largely relies on pepper to get its flavor, people are using plant-based ingredients, like nutritional yeast and miso, to mimic the taste and texture of cheese. Cacio e pepe melds simplicity with satiation, and it’s finding new followers across the U.S.”

Facebook IQ
Facebook IQ

Facebook users with green thumbs chatted up Hoya kerrii and associated topics California, Downey (Calif.), Hoya, PayPal, plant, Valentine’s Day, Vancouver (Wash.) and Venmo in January.

Conversation was up 4.4 times versus January 2019 and 1.3 times month-over-month, dominated by men 18 through 24 and women 18 through 49.

Facebook IQ wrote, “Indoor gardens are increasingly popular, and Hoya kerrii plants are the latest addition to people’s plant collections. These heart-shaped succulents are easy to care for, and they’re now readily available through online plant retailers. People are especially interested in purchasing them—and other potted plants—for holidays like Valentine’s Day, since they tend to last longer than traditional flower bouquets. While Hoya kerrii plants are typically potted with a single heart-shaped leaf in soil, they eventually grow into long vines. People are expanding their indoor gardens, opting for plants that can be delivered directly to their doorstep.”

Facebook IQ
Facebook IQ

People on the social network looked to the sky for Orion and associated topics astronomy, Betelgeuse, constellation, Earth, red giant, star, stars, supergiant star and supernova, causing discussion to spike 3.6 times year-over-year and 1.1 times month-over-month.

All age groups contributed to the increases, with men accounting for slightly more than women.

The social network’s research arm wrote, “Orion is one of the most well-known constellations in the night sky. In recent months, Betelgeuse, one of the brightest stars in Orion, has been dimming at a rapid rate. Astronomers believe this may be an indication that the star is nearing its death, at which point it will explode and result in a supernova. Scientists are sharing predictions for when this event might happen and how it will appear from Earth. And people are already gearing up for it, even though it may take up to 100,000 years to occur. Stargazers are increasingly discovering updates on celestial events online, heightening their fascination with space.”

Facebook IQ

david.cohen@adweek.com David Cohen is editor of Adweek's Social Pro Daily.