Culture Trip, founded in 2011 by former academic psychiatrist Dr. Kris Naudts, runs a network of more than 300 freelancer around the world, and it tapped eight of them to create the individual “Hungerlust” episodes. The company is hoping “Hungerlust” will not only whet the appetites of its existing audience of some 18 million monthly unique visitors to its website (theculturetrip.com) and 7 million-plus social followers, but also will draw in new fans.
All eight episodes of “Hungerlust” — spanning four continents and seven languages — are available to watch at series.culturetrip.com/hungerlust as of Wednesday (Oct. 24). The episodes each run 5-6 minutes.
While it is undeniably a food-and-travel show, it’s different from what you see in the genre on traditional TV, according to Mick Greenwood, Culture Trip’s head of video. There’s no celebrity host — or even a host of any kind. The stories are told using interviews with local restaurateurs, cooks and other personalities. Culture Trip’s goal with the approach was to maintain an authenticity that resonates with its audience.
“It’s about what is unique and special about a place, through local portraits,” said Greenwood, who is based in London. “It’s not a food series. It’s a culture series.”
That said, Culture Trip decided it made sense to center its first original video series on food. It’s the site’s most-viewed vertical, and 98% of Culture Trip visitors say they are interested in food and drink.
And instead of having to send production crews to each location around the globe, Culture Trip worked with creator partners in the local areas to research and shoot each episode. “One of the beautiful things about our creator network is that it allows for efficiencies that other producers don’t have,” said Elizabeth Carter, Culture Trip’s VP of marketing.
Locales featured in “Hungerlust” are Paris; Tokyo; Mexico City; London; Jerusalem; Hong Kong; Marrakesh, Morocco; and Austin, Texas. Subjects include Tokyo’s “King of Ramen,” Makoto Shirane, the elusive proprietor of one of the city’s hottest ramen shops, and Sally Abé, head chef at The Harwood Arms, the only Michelin-starred pub in London, about England’s Sunday roast tradition.
“The way we looked at it was, we wanted to cover the world,” Greenwood said. After watching the Austin segment, about local institution Sam’s Bar-B-Que, “I went out and got something to eat straightaway,” Greenwood said with a laugh.
“Hungerlust” will carry post-roll ads along with special sponsored content. The Netflix-style simultaneous release of all eight episodes is “to take advantage of the behavior of binge watching,” said Carter. “Once we get [viewers] in the content, we think they’ll stay engaged in it and discover our other content.”
In addition to streaming on the website, “Hungerlust” will be available via Culture Trip’s app, which has been downloaded more than 1.5 million times to date. The company also plans to release platform-specific edits on Facebook, Instagram and Instagram Stories, and Twitter.
The show was produced on a relatively quick-turnaround schedule, after it was greenlit in mid-August. “Hungerlust” is executive produced by Culture Trip’s Adu Lalouschek with Ciaran Carney as series producer.
Culture Trip plans to produce additional originals in the coming months, execs said. “There are definitely more series coming,” Carter said. “It’s full steam ahead.”
Watch the “Hungerlust” trailer:
Pictured above: “Hungerlust” episode “Austin – Barbecue, Pitmasters and Pride”