Social media v. food: Why they shouldn’t mix

By Tevin Voong

Food pictures have taken the internet by storm. Instead of getting right to the food, people “let the camera eat first” and take pictures. This obsession over food pictures has promoted the importance of marketing aesthetically pleasing food that’s “Instagram worthy” and this needs to stop.

The increased popularity of social media has allowed this generation to share almost anything with the people who follow us. And one of the most shared topics on social media, specifically Instagram, is food.

Taste is no longer the most important aspect of food thanks to the unique pairing of food and social media. People no longer care about if they enjoyed something or not because the satisfaction of sharing their giant pizza or colorful donut on the internet is more important.

In a study conducted on the effect of consumer-generated images on food in the Journal of Consumer Marketing, researchers found that people can perceive food as actually tasting better when they take a picture of it, but this takes away from what really makes food taste good.

People lose appreciation for the ingredients and time put into genuinely good food. By placing the importance of aesthetics over the importance of taste, the quality of the food industry suffers because restaurants and businesses are spending more time trying to attract people with crazy food combinations rather than with delicious food.

Another reason why the craze over food pictures needs to stop is the effect that it has on social gatherings. People used to use food as a reason to get together to catch up or relax after a long week of work, but this generation is using the opportunity to post about the latest food trend as a reason to go out.

In a study done by Havas Worldwide, a French advertising and public relations company, 35 percent of millennials identify themselves as foodies and 44 percent have posted food-related photos on social media. People born into the age of social media gather over the chance to post something on their Instagram accounts so that they can garner likes and comments asking where they found something so incredible.

The effect of combining social media and food has connected people through superficial interactions because people value living vicariously over actually meeting in person for something.

The obsession over aesthetically pleasing food needs to stop because people are forgetting the reasons why food has become a culinary art. Of course, plating and aesthetics have been a part of food for a long time, but it did not have the same effects as it has now because with social media thrown into the recipe, the priorities of people in this generation and the food industry have shifted.

Completely stopping the influx of food pictures might be too difficult, but this generation could start with understanding the important aspects of food that expand beyond that probably regular tasting rainbow bagel.

Food in social media

Robert Diep / The Poly Post

Food in social media

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