For my DA project, I want to investigate on how ‘Instagrammable food’ changed people’s eating behaviour and food choices. In the previous post, I have talked about the topic of my ethnographic research, which is how could ‘Instagrammable’ food affect people’s food choices and behaviour. Through the research, how Instagrammable food are set stylistically to attract and affect the people so as to change their eating practice. This week, I would like to further explain the related concept and some focus questions in a deeper way.
Since, in recent global foodscape the ‘Camera-eats-First’ phenomenon and behaviour have emerged and become popularized among teenagers and young adult. I have observed from the Instagram, there is an raise in the number of foodies accounts, they are mainly write about the food review and recommendation restaurant such as the taste of food. They usually take pictures of dishes before eating and share them through the social media platforms, in particular Instagram.
Concepts & Focus questions
What is Instagrammable food?
Instagrammable food is a concept of presentation for food which usually looks great or picture-perfect. Humans who are typically visual creatures and are attracted by that highly stylized and beautiful photography on social media contents. Instagrammable food could be directly associated with concepts such as ‘visual hunger’ or ‘digital satiation’, which would affect people food choices and eating practices.
What is visual hunger?
The article (Spence et al., 2016) indicates that visual hunger can be defined as the natural desire, or urge, to see food images and the subsequent array of neural, physiological, and behavioural responses that result from an individual’s exposure to food images – typically implying unisensory (visual) stimulation in the absence of any actual food.
In short, Visual hunger is a concept that describes as a food desire which provoking a desire for eating, human brains learnt to enjoy seeing food since it would likely to consume.
What is ‘Eating with the eyes’ ?
‘Eating with the eyes’ described as an eating pattern. People’s perception is typically dominated by what their eyes see, and judge whether the food is delicious or not. Brain and visual system development intimately linked to the acquisition of food.
How ‘Instagrammable’ food attracts people attention?
Instagrammable food is a concept of presentation for food which is usually looks great or picture-perfect. Humans who are typically visual creatures and are attracted by those highly stylized and beautiful photography on social media contents. The Instagram foodie critics shared a bunch of pornographic and tempting subject of foods on Instagram frequently, through the photography skill and tools such as, filters, design, editing and displaying that can easily create a visually attractive pictures.
Some restaurants start thinking about the presentation, not only caring the display of the dishes but also the interior, menus design and even the utensils. In order to attract people attention to affect people food choices and eating practices, they hope of raking in those all-important likes from the customers. Those restaurants sighted business opportunities and started launching some foods that are bright colour-coded and highlighting specific features. For examples, galaxy doughnuts, mermaid toast and glitter coffee etc.
How ‘Instagrammable’ food is changing the way we eat?
There are a lot of ‘Instagrammable food’ images on Instagram, it’s no doubt that intensifying the desire for food and impacted people’s choice and eating practices. From design to lighting, colours to food placement, the utensil, that you use and the table setting and designs, all out in all of these food-external factors can also affect your mind to choose. After taking the photo, people will revise the brightness, contrast and saturation, upload it to the social media platform thereby to get the most likes on Instagram.
Admittedly, these food porngraphy images will be helped along in the likability with their colourful, attractive Instagram atmosphere. However, we are increasingly being influenced in the types of food that we eat. The research states that almost half of the people worried and care more about the food presentation rather than its taste. (Tandoh, 2016)
What are the impacts of creating ‘Instagrammable’ food?
Most of the Instagrammable photos are vivid, bright and colourful, energetic. Different colour tones and patterns give the photos a delight feels. When the Instagram-friendly foods are in popular, they can totally change the way we eat. For example, breakfast has displaced from a plain and boring cereal or oatmeal to a eye-catching and bright-coloured smoothie bowls. In order to make the food look more tasty and beautiful, some food industry and restaurant does are not hesitate to add unhealthy additives that can harmed people health. For examples, Unicorn Frappuccino from Starbucks, the brilliant colors and taste are mainly comes from artificial colors and lots of sugar. It’s contained over 59 grams of sugar and receive criticism from the health authorities because the sugar content of the drink is higher than an adult should consume in a day.
Spence, C., Okajima, K., Cheok, A., Petit, O. and Michel, C., 2016. Eating with our eyes: From visual hunger to digital satiation. Brain and Cognition, [online] 110, pp.53-63. Available at: <https://reader.elsevier.com/reader/sd/pii/S0278262615300178?token=BFEEBF7D790C02A7EDB3AFCF487320C428F0FDC2B26B8BFAB6F6FBAADF7B384373B2DD89BFC3113C87440023B7209463> [Accessed 20 October 2020].
Tandoh, R., 2016. Click Plate: How Instagram Is Changing The Way We Eat. [online] the Guardian. Available at: <https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2016/nov/02/click-plate-how-instagram-changing-way-we-eat-food> [Accessed 21 October 2020].