When it comes to eating out, consumers are not only looking for fantastic food and drink, they are also looking for the perfect Instagram shot. So much so that some restaurants have even modelled themselves in order to provide that perfect shot. It’s hard to blame them though, with so many people taking pictures there is an obvious demand for restaurants that double as mini-photography studios. After all, in a 2016 survey, Zagat found that 75% of diners who browse food photos online have chosen a place to eat based on social media, so it makes sense to make your restaurant as ‘Instagrammable’ as possible.
These photo-reviews don’t just affect restaurants positively, they can also have a negative impact. A study by digital marketing agency, Only Way Online, found that 18-35-year olds spend five days a year browsing food images on Instagram. 30% of those even admitted they would avoid a restaurant if it had a weak presence on the app.
The study also found that 59.5% of people following a food venue either have already, or would spend money there, with 38% saying they might and only 2.5% saying that they will probably not go. This shows that restaurants can view their follower count as a customer count, and even the 38% in the maybe pile have the possibility to be easily converted by the content you are posting.
Because of statistics like this, restaurants and brands are now putting extra focus on their Instagram feeds, ensuring they are sharing visually appealing and stunning content that builds a picture for their customers.
I’ve also seen examples or the power of Instagram working differently, where certain food products become social media buzz words, and people will go out of their way to try it and get a snap. We’ve seen this with items like freakshakes and cronuts in the past, which were quickly picked up by a multitude of restaurants and cafes looking to respond to the craze.
As the #FoodPorn trend opens up online, it has made way for people to become more creative, and a generation of viral food artists has emerged as a result. These people accumulate hundreds of thousands of followers for posting images of everything from colourful pasta to food typography.
Brittany Wright is a photographer and food artist who captures food gradients. She treats food as an art and uses it to create something beautiful, looking at colours produced by both natural and manufactured foods. Brittany dropped out of art school and started to use cooking as her creative outlet, which was when the idea was born. She has now accumulated a large social media following, and on top of her own project she is now a professional food photographer, as well as having a book in the pipeline.
Linda Miller Nicholson
Linda Miller Nicholson’s food story started from more humble beginnings, trying to get her children to not be as picky. She found when the food was brightly-coloured, her kids were more likely to embrace it and thus a phenomenon, and career, was born. She uses vegetables to colour her creations which not only creates beautiful, natural colours but interesting flavours and textures. You can join Linda for a workshop or pasta class in Downtown Seattle or find her videos on YouTube, or keep an eye out of her cookbook, full of pasta recipes, coming out this year.
If cake is more your style, then Ksenia Penkina’s mirror glazed wonders will be for you. This beautiful style of cake decoration has become incredibly popular in recent times, and Ksenia is one of the best. As a professional pastry chef, Ksenia has all of the skills to create these perfect marvels, and she loves to share those skills with others. As well as travelling the world teaching other, she also focuses her attention to online teaching, and offers video classes for people on her website.
You have a #pizza our hearts. We love your #saucy ways and your #cheesy jokes, @instagram. Thanks for the #love, and have a wonderful #ValentinesDay, #slices. Tag someone that tickles your tastebuds! #Iloveyou #loveyou #valentine #vday #vdaycard #foodtype #foodlettering #foodtypography #danielleevans #daniellevans #design #heart #type #typography #pizzatime #pizzapie #sauce #pepperoni #pizzalove #cheese
Danielle Evans describes herself as the ‘Beyoncé of food lettering’ and from her account you can see why. Her creations are clever and intricate, and often look impossible to create. Her work is fun and light-hearted, and instead of making food art, they make art out of food. Danielle herself ventures outside of food typography and creates other typography pieces for brands, as well as offering personal creative sessions in which she can help anyone scratch a creative itch.
DJ, filmmaker, and photographer by trade, Leslie Kirchhoff’s journey into the food art world was an accidental one. She credits it to the creation of her first ‘Disco Cube’ which happened when she added a blackberry and some rosemary to an ice cube tray and marvelled at the results. Since then she has gone from strength to strength and now is making custom ice cubes for clients like Martha Stewart. Alongside creating ice cube art for large-scale events, Kirchhoff still manages to find time for her other passions and is currently working on recipes, playlists and content for Disco Cubes as well as her other projects.
How are these artists affecting the industry?
This viral food trend is not only giving consumers something to look at, it’s giving them something to aspire to. Not only in restaurants but in their own homes, more people are seeing these images and wanting to see them replicated. People are more likely to search out restaurants, or dishes that will look good on their feeds, and I’m excited that the industry is reacting to that. After all, a feast should be for the eyes, as well as the mouth.