Using Social Media to Preserve Consumers' Awareness on Food Identity in Times of Crisis: The Case of Bakeries

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2021 Jun 9;18(12):6251. doi: 10.3390/ijerph18126251.


Departing from the understanding of food tourism in urban environments, this research analyses the brand engagement of bakeries during the COVID-19 lockdown period, and the first stages of the de-escalation process. A mixed-methods study is designed to analyze the case of six selected bakeries in Catalonia (Spain). Drawing on data obtained from semi-structured interviews (N = 6) and a visual content analysis of the businesses' social media promotion in Instagram (N = 638), results show the performance of bakeries during pandemic times, where a change in production and consumption behaviors is observed and takeaway and delivery helped them to survive. In particular, their social media promotion in Instagram also revealed how bakeries have managed this difficult situation and kept a close relationship with customers, standing up as a symbol of resilience against the odds and contributing to preserve customers' awareness on food and health, and the city's identity, through digital branding strategies that communicate messages around bread and pastry foods (the product), the shop and the workshop (the place), and both the employees and the customers (the people).

Keywords: Spain; branding strategies; crisis management; food experience; food marketing; food tourism; health and food.

MeSH terms

  • COVID-19*
  • Communicable Disease Control
  • Humans
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Social Media*
  • Spain