The impact of social media on the food industry and how we eat
By Holly Snowdon
As a self-confessed and well-known foodie at the MAXX office, it’s safe to say that food-related thoughts occupy my mind throughout most of the day!
I profess to being someone who is guilty of photographing my food before eating it - often spending so long trying to capture the perfect photo that my food ends up going cold! - I felt it was about time I addressed the undeniable impact that social media is having on the way we eat and the food/restaurant industry as a whole.
Just a few years ago, it was the norm to sit down for a meal with a group of friends without whipping out a camera phone. Even in the early years of social media’s existence, photographing one’s food was still a little frowned upon (and, lets be honest, a little embarrassing!).
However, it appears that now, it is common practice to capture the perfect snap of your food/drink before tucking in. But why, you might ask do I, and millions of others across the globe feel the inherent need to do this?
Particularly amongst the millennial generation, taking a food photo before instantly uploading it to the various social media platforms happens for several reasons. Taking a photo is not only a way of displaying appreciation for our food, but it is used as a way of projecting a desired image of ourselves or as a statement of ‘coolness’. Our broadcasted images of what we eat helps to reflect and express our individuality and lifestyle choices. For example, a girl posting an image of a hulking great cheeseburger has significantly different connotations (in terms of personality and personal values) to an image of a health conscious lady posting an image of herself tucking into a colourful, superfood salad.
Social media has meant that, more often than not, we are eating with our eyes as opposed to other senses. Consequently, restaurants and eateries alike are under pressure to up their game and produce the most photogenic, ornate food imaginable. If it’s not Instagram worthy, then is it even worth serving?!
In our world where we require non stop visual stimulation, people feel the need to expose what they’re eating and where, in the most artistic, aesthetically pleasing way possible. After all, if it hasn’t been snapped/grammed, then it hasn’t been eaten, right?
With this bizarre trend showing no signs of disappearing anytime soon I can’t help but wonder, have things been taken too far? Should we not just enjoy each other’s company and appreciate the taste of our food as opposed to faffing around with the perfect composition of the contents on our plates….?
Food for thought…