Forget food porn. The latest Instagram trend is rooted in an ancient way of life - Deepstash

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Food That Looks Great On Instagram

Food That Looks Great On Instagram

The past decade has seen the rise of the Instagrammable food trend, where restaurants have altered menus to prioritize visual uniqueness—often at the expense of taste. In a competitive social media landscape, the question for restaurateurs has been how to stand out and generate audience engagement in the form of likes, comments, and shares.

Under the assumption that creating unique food items will help businesses stand out and garner more engagement on social media, the Instagrammable food trend has given birth to novelty items like unicorn lattes and poop cafés.

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Instragrammable Food

Instragrammable Food

Since social media platforms use rank-ordering algorithms to prioritize and boost content, figuring out which foods garner more social media engagement will help restaurants and food content creators determine how to better amplify the reach of their online content.

Conventional social media wisdom suggests that people will engage with social media content they deem entertaining, where “entertaining” is synonymous with unique, distinct, and atypical. 

In a food context, it has been assumed that entertaining means food that looks more unique, distinct, and atypical.

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The Brain Is Evolutionarily Programmed To Recognize Food

The Brain Is Evolutionarily Programmed To Recognize Food

While social media forecasters may suggest that unique foods are a trend, this logic contradicts some principles of evolutionary psychology. Humans evolved to quickly visually recognize foods, not just for what is edible, but also for what is calorie-dense.

Since finding and eating edible food was crucial for survival when humans were hunter-gatherers, we may be hardwired to feel intrinsically good when we simply see the food we know we can eat.

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The Power Of Social Media

The Power Of Social Media

The average user spends over two hours a day on social media platforms, exposing themselves to hundreds of different posts in a single scrolling session.

While rapidly processing content, the brain may instinctively feel more positively toward images that are more easily recognized as food. These positive feelings can then transfer to behaviours directed toward the post, thereby increasing the likelihood of the post receiving likes, comments, or shares.

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Recognizing Normal, Edible Food

Recognizing Normal, Edible Food

Since people feel better when they see foods that are easily recognizable as food, normal-looking food tends to get more likes. On the other hand, unique foods tend to result in lower social media engagement because they are harder to recognize and classify as food.

Despite food industry bloggers and social media trends suggesting that people crave unique, eye-catching content, the most successful Instagrammable foods are the normal-looking ones that are more easily recognized as food.

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CURATED BY

joshaw

Social worker

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