Food and social media. These two have been going steady for some time now, with consumers tuning in to every part of their relationship. Together they’ve given birth to new trends (hello, kale salad), new tools (what’s up, Nutribullet), and new ways of dining (hey snapchat, lets eat together).
However, did you every think it would give way to new art? Some people may be rolling their eyes as they imagine the “basic” instagrams and snapchats of the main stream attention seeking consumers. But if we strip this need to ‘share our food’ of its foolish stereotype, we may be able to see some unique value added.
Before food and social media first started dating, the main place to find pretty plates of food was at an expensive restaurant. People would pay triple digits for multi-course meals that had been hand crafted by chefs with extensive training. Now, on the other hand, social media has made every chef an artist. No longer do the wealthiest restaurants hold all the artistic power. With a little bit of effort and a camera, small restaurants, food trucks, and eaters alike can become famous through crafting social media pages that are pleasing to consumers.
According to an article by Scientific American, “Although sight is not technically part of taste, it certainly influences perception. Interestingly, food and drink are identified predominantly by the senses of smell and sight, not taste.” This is why we now focus so much on the appearance of our food and why we are quick to share its appearance with others. Our society has become ok with paying more for food if it looks good because we subconsciously think it will taste better (cue the $12 colorful fruit smoothie).
Voted part of a “Largest Instagram Obsession” list
Social media has brought with it the pressure to be good at instagraming food as people are now checking out restaurants on social media before testing a new place. Pictures have taken the place of reviews and consumers are increasingly looking at pictures to inform themselves on the quality, inventiveness, and cool-factor of each restaurant. Even credible and historic food publications such as Bon Appetite are realizing the importance of a good social media presence (see: 10 Awesome Food-Themed Instagram Accounts You Need to Follow Immediately).
A snapchat before your meal has taken the place of saying grace, allowing us to give thanks for our food via social media. We share meals with friends when we are alone via the app and our social media cuisine footprint allows us to relive the experience of a good meal unlike ever before. I believe that social media is changing the way we eat and how we think about food. If you don’t believe me, think about the nearly 7,800 results that were found when I searched “social media and food” on Amazon. Granted not all of those books will be as specific in regards to this topic, but it is still an outstanding number for the time that social media platforms such as Snapchat and Instagram have been in use. So next time you see that you see a snapchat, instagram, or facebook post about your friend’s meal, consider how the normalcy of that post is shaping the way we view food. If you ask me, we might be making the transition from art to comedy.