Snap, Post…and then Dig In

Have you been to a trendy restaurant recently? Standing on chairs, rearranging table settings, or rolling up the blinds to get natural light just to get the perfect picture of your food has become commonplace. Food bloggers, instagrammers, and tweeters of food are rampant, which raises the question: are people going to restaurants to eat and just happen to take pictures or are people going to restaurants to just to get these beautiful pictures? Is instagramming changing the face of how we dine?

I can personally speak for my sister when I say that instagramming has changed the way she dines. Snapping a picture of her food prior to eating her first bite has become a ritual. Just look at these snaps below. The decadence!

Thai tea ice cream sandwich via @kelll_e

Instagram has become a way of life for millennials; we instagram while we groggily wake up, in between classes, and as we fall asleep. As a result, we are incessantly shown pictures of beautiful food, colorful plates, and locally cold brewed coffee. We are constantly reminded of the endless dining options out there, and thus often may feel a sense of “FOMO” or fear of missing out. And if not FOMO, at least a minor nudge that these are places that provide beautiful food. Subsequently, once you do make it to these hot spots, you want to be part of the trend, and you also stand by the window for natural light, in order to capture the undeniable beauty of the food you’re indulging in.

This cycle indeed changes the way we eat and appreciate food, and from the opposite end, changes the way eateries present and cook their food. Take a look at Trisha Toh, food blogger extraordinaire @TRISHATES and just look at her photo on the left below. Plain and simple, her instagram is art. Or look at @HUNGRYNYC, photo on the right below. You will undeniably salivate looking at these pictures of food. Social media has unintentionally changed the way we appreciate, taste, and indulge in food. NY Mag even notes the show on FYI called Food Porn, in which the most famous instagrammed dishes are shared!

Homemade Curry via @trishates
Smoked Salmon Eggs Benedict via @hungrynyc

The Journal of Consumer Marketing proves with their research that taking pictures before one eats can actually make food taste better. The Journal specifically notes that when consumers take pictures before eating their food, “it increases attitudes and taste evaluations of the experience when consumption actually takes place.”

Even more interesting, the journal notes that taking pictures as well as seeing others eat healthy foods through their pictures will actually make healthy foods more enjoyable. The world of food is no longer just about being in the moment and enjoying it, it’s about savoring it through social media. Timeout Magazine notes that Instagram has caused consumers to not be able to enjoy their food without a few likes. Countless studies have shown that consumers who take those pre-food snaps perceive the food to be tastier and more pleasurable, explaining why many people have developed this ritual to get the full experience out of their meal.

NYMag studies show that the reason behind the increase in satisfaction after photographing food, is “delayed gratification.” Essentially, by delaying the intake of food in order to take a photograph, we increase awareness thus allowing more savoring of foods. In other words, stop and snap the roses!

Phillip Cox is a 4th year Bioengineering major and blogger for the Eat Well Pod within the Healthy Campus Initiative.

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