Strategic advice for the food and beverage industry

Under the influence: Brazilians get familiar with FODMAPs

What’s the magic ingredient that can take a new food or diet from obscurity to ubiquity? Sometimes, it’s who you know.

FODMAPs is an established avoidance diet in Australia and emerging in US and UK, but it’s practically unheard of in most other countries.

But in Brazil, that could be about to change since a popular blogger introduced at least 2% of the population to the concept.

Gabriela Pugliesi is one of the country’s most popular fitness and health “influencers”, sharing her diet and fitness routine with almost 4 million Brazilians every day. In July, she devoted a special Instagram story to “leaky gut (IBS)” and explored how a diet low in FODMAPs – fermentable carbs found in many common foods – could help to overcome symptoms.

In a series of short videos she describes IBS, saying that it’s more common than most people think, and sharing her nutritionist’s advice that following a low FODMAPs diet for two months would change her gut microbiome and stop most IBS symptoms. She’s also posted charts showing which foods to avoid on a low FODMAPs diet, and which are OK.

Gabriela admits that she doesn’t follow this diet yet – but recommends it to everyone suffering from IBS (“give it a try if you can, it will change your life” she exhorts). And the effect of her “health tip” was immediately apparent, with the term FODMAP peaking on Google searches in Brazil during the week in which her Instagram video appeared online.

This is a perfect example of the influence that social media and “digital celebrities” have in rising awareness and discussion on topics. Even though there’s no way of measuring how many consumers listened to Gabriela’s talk and then sought and bought low-FODMAP products, the effect that influencers can have on consumers’ awareness about products and trends is undeniable.

So-called “influencer marketing” is worth an estimated $1.7 billion, fuelled by 13 million brands that sponsored influencer posts on social media platforms like Instagram.

“Digital influencers” have become a quick way of reaching a wide audience for brands, and this new “word of mouth” can truly boost the growth of new, even obscure, trends such as FODMAPS.

For further information about FODMAPS, see our report.

By Joana Maricato

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Posted in Editorial, Mainsite

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