When was the last time you uploaded a food picture to Instagram? That avocado on toast you had for brunch on Saturday? Yesterday’s fully loaded burger you had at the pub? Or was it this morning when you stopped the whole office diving into the cronut delivery because you had to get the perfect shot first? Come on, admit it, we love uploading pictures of food, and a Waitrose report has confirmed it: a third of those aged 18 to 34 regularly post pictures of their meals on social media.
And yes, I’m guilty. I bore my followers with pictures of new recipes I’ve tried. I regularly sit down to dinner five minutes after my husband because I’ve been adjusting the lighting and garnishes on my plate for its close-up. More than 130,000 pictures of food are shared on Instagram every day in the UK, and Waitrose’s survey found that nearly half of consumers make more effort with their cooking if they think a photo of it is likely to be shared. It’s become a form of expression, and, for me, a way of also documenting my meals. I can look back and remind myself of food I’ve enjoyed – a personalised online recipe book of sorts.
But how is this this effecting the way we actually eat? Well we’re more adventurous with our every day eating habits and world cuisines that we’re willing to try. A mere five years ago, avocado for breakfast, kale, and quinoa were reserved for the obscurely health conscious. The recent popularity of Peruvian and Israeli cuisines, and even the rise of the junk food craze all have a lot to thank Instagram for. And we’re a lot more inclined to eat healthier food too. Vegan and raw lifestyles are big news on Instagram, and if we’re sharing pictures what we’re eating, we’re more likely to want to appear virtuous.
The popularity of food on Instagram also presents a fantastic opportunity for PR and marketing campaigns, and for brands wanting to engage with real ‘foodies’. There’s been a rise of Instagram influencers running exclusive competitions for niche brands, to not huge but very engaged audiences. And brands are able to use up-and-coming influencers in a savvy way to nail communicating with that coveted millennial audience. Take Clean Eating Alice’s guest menu at Searcy’s The Gherkin this month or Uncle Ben’s take on Joe Wick’s Lean in 15 meals. There’s even using the power of food for good on Instagram – check out the incredibly successful CookForSyria movement.
If all this has left you feeling incredibly hungry, why not get in on the action and post some #Foodporn before you tuck into tonight’s dinner? BBC Good Food have even compiled some tips from the experts to get you started!