“Don’t touch the food! I’m taking a picture!”
Has Instagram changed the way we eat? Well, of course it has. I don’t remember taking 15 pictures of the dessert I ordered, from every angle imaginable before IG. But in the digital age, we’re all foodies trying to showcase our lifestyles, especially what we consume.
Foodie used to be a label reserved exclusively for hipsters who were mocked for being too snobby, too picky and way too obsessed with what’s on their plate. But somewhere along the line we all became foodies and it became a social norm to take a photo of food, right before you dig in.
There are over 180 million pictures on Instagram tagged #Food and millions more under tags like #foodporn and #Foodphotography. If you check your Instagram when you’re hungry (or worse, if you’re fasting) you’re going to be bombarded with tempting pictures of food which will make you want to find solace in a bag of chips as soon as possible. Somewhere along the line we started spending our days drooling over food photos on social media, anticipating the moment we get to eat and then whipping out our cellphones before we pick up our forks. The craze of Instagram has definitely revolutionized the way we eat!
Thanks to the amazing cameras and intense editing software in every other smartphone, everyone’s stepping up their game and entering the arena of food photography. It’s fairly common to see people at restaurants using napkins to get that perfect lighting, moving the table arrangements around or even standing up to take a decent picture of their food. To some extent the photo has become more important than the food itself. Many diners (myself included) tend to order particular dishes just because they’re going to be photogenic.
Pro tip: When in doubt, always go for the Lava Cake.
But this isn’t one of those rants about how Millennials are glued to their cellphones and don’t appreciate the finer things in life. While I admit that Instagramming might be overshadowing the dining experience, the trend of foodphotography has done a lot of good for the world of food. It’s not just all about getting likes and increasing your presence on social media; the trend impacts the culinary world and foodies alike!
Instagram is a great Marketing tool. Every picture that you take of a particular dish acts as a tiny digital billboard just adding credibility to a restaurant. Chefs use the trend to their own advantage and pay extra attention to details like plating and presentation. The more presentable the food is, the more likely it is to be photographed and recommended! In the competitive world of food, chefs keep an eye out on trends and introduce dishes accordingly. The bar is raised on a daily basis and though chefs might value taste over aesthetics, they’re putting additional emphasis on presentation. Tantalizing food photos get thousands of likes within hours of posting, and who doesn’t like free publicity anyway?
As for the foodies, we’re more willing to try a new place if someone else has already been there. Thanks to Instagram, we can instantly find out what the place is like; and lo and behold, half the battle is won! Now, more than ever, the public has the power to determine what’s hot and what isn’t. A restaurant’s credibility is no longer based on food reviews by critics, but by what’s being said about it on social media. So why not showcase what’s on your plate? Personally, for me the ideal dishes are the ones that strike the perfect balance between what looks good and tastes great. Something irresistible yet too pretty to eat.
Whether you like it or not, the obsession with food is here to stay. If you’re on #TeamInstagram, kudos on the patience and may you always get perfect lighting when you have a gorgeous dish in front of you. And if you’re on #TeamJustLetMeEat, feel free to dig in to your own food, but if you touch my plate before I have a decent photo, you might just lose a finger!