“This is on the first day when we hired our bikes…this is the view we had from our balcony… this is the loaded fries we had for lunch…”
As my boyfriend and I scrolled through the photos of our recent holiday when catching up with family a pattern quickly emerged.
“This was a brunch we had at the hotel – smashed avocado which fried egg and a tomato relish – this was the dinner we had that day where we shared a few starters and nibbles…” alongside the selfies and pictures of beautiful views was a documented account of each meal we ate. Yes, the food was just as much a part of the holiday as everything else and the pictures were there to prove it. Well, we are millennials after all.
If you follow Jellybean on Instagram or Twitter, you will know that we’re no stranger to the art of food photography – we are a leading foodservice agency after all! Whether it’s the tasty delights we sampled on our travels, showing off our home-cooked food, or snapping a picture of a beautifully decorated plate, it can’t be denied we love taking pictures of our dishes. But with restaurants like the Waterside Inn recently putting up a sign asking diners not to take pictures of their dishes because they think its ruins the experience1, it begs the question – is our love of food porn ruining dining out?
The saying ‘We eat with our eyes’ is certainly truer than ever for the social media generation, and a quick search on the hashtag #foodporn returns 139,920,572 posts at the time of writing. Foodie culture has invaded social media and millennials are driving the way, with 69% of us taking pictures of our food.2
As evidenced by The Waterside Inn, some chefs think this ruins the experience. However, interestingly scientists found that delaying eating your plate can actually have a positive experience on the eventual enjoyment of the meal due to the building of anticipation.3 I always knew I was on the right side of science!
Some restaurants, like Bens Canteen in South London, embrace the trend with the founder admitting that he uses Instagram to make sure he is keeping customers happy, ensure their other branches are keeping up the standard, and actively wants to “embrace people who are willing to talk about you in a positive fashion”.4 NYC-inspired Restaurant brand Dirty Bones even went as far as equipping their newest restaurant with Instagram friendly aesthetics and a special kit with lighting and special lenses for diners to take the perfect food shot.5
In 2016, 75% of social media users said they have picked a restaurant purely based on photos on social media.6 The fact is that word of mouth has now evolved. Instead of just telling someone about a great meal you had, you can make your case with beautiful photography. You can also broadcast it to your followers to encourage them to give a recipe or restaurant a try. Restaurant reviews in newspapers are a thing of the past, and not only is word of mouth key, but its moved online.
For me, taking pictures isn’t just about showing followers something that looks pretty but, as someone who loves food and takes enjoyment out of eating a great meal, I take pictures just as much as a memory of a great evening.
Ultimately, as a the leading foodservice agency we’re not going to stop taking photos of our food – but when the social trend calls for it, why not? Embrace food art I say. Long live #foodporn.