Thank You Instagram for the $12 Fruit Smoothie

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).

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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).

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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.

 

 

7 comments

  1. Fun post! I follow a bunch of food pages for the same reason I sometimes watch cooking shows on Food Network (I will never be able to do THAT myself). Your post had me actually thinking about how many new foods/food places I have tried based on Instagram (too many). It’s crazy how influential Social Media can be, even if you don’t notice it at first!

  2. In addition to sharing the finished product, I’m sure everyone has noticed the influx of cooking videos of Facebook over the past 6-9 months. Instead of going somewhere and ordering a great One-Pan Sweet Potato Breakfast Hash (I just went to Facebook and that popped right up on my News Feed), maybe social media has urged some people to try their own hand in the kitchen. I love cooking so I hope other social media users have seen posts like that and given it a shot as well.

  3. Nice post. Food has certainly been a major component of social media content for a while now. I think you’ve done a good job describing why this may be the case.

  4. Your post definitely hits on a topic I never would’ve thought about but I definitely agree with you. It made me start thinking about all the times I’ve gotten DM’ed a picture of food over Instagram or tagged in a “Food Hack” post on Facebook to make Chicken Parm burgers or a buffalo chicken bread. The article you posted was also really eye opening because whenever I go out to eat, I have to look on the menu and then I try to find pictures of my top choices of what to order. Definitely never thought about it in a scientific sense so thanks for sharing!

  5. I definitely can understand their relationship as half of my news feeds are food blogs, restaurants or their exercise counterparts to be able to continue eating. I definitely look for restaurants and menus that include photos because I particularly like to see what I’m eating because when something looks more appetizing I’m more inclined to want it. Similarly, I depend on Instagram and Wine and Dine which runs specifically on food photos and rating meals as well as Yelp in order to choose where I am going to go next to try the next beautiful plate. This blog made it apparent why people enjoy sharing in this way and how humorous it can be.

  6. Wow your comment that Snapchatting our food has become the new saying grace at the table is actually so true. Everyone pauses when their food comes and without touching it, starts snapping pictures, savoring a moment before digging in. I also agree that people are looking up restaurants pictures on Instagram and reviews on Yelp before trying new places themselves. This creates an interesting dynamic for restaurant owners and chefs who now have to come up with ways to look Instagram-able and relevant on social media, and obvious all of them want to go “food viral.” You’re right that it has turned every chef into an artist, and I wonder how they feel about such an emphasis on look ahead of taste.

  7. Your idea that part of a smoothie (for example) would consider the look of it as part of its value proposition and push up the price is interesting, and I think very true. We all know that a top restaurant is all about preparation, but now we have what should be cheap outlets like smoothies and salads charging a premium unlike before due to presentation. I do no think that is a bad thing as long as I can still get a normal smoothie that tastes great and has no look for cheap.

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