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Is Food the New Status Symbol?

The full Ypulse Quarterly Q2 2014 report is hot off the press and being released today. Each report, we identify some of the big shifts that are currently shaping the way that Millennials are currently viewing the world, interacting with one another, consuming entertainment and products, and more. But we also make sure to keep tabs on the trends we’ve written about in the past to track their progress, as well as give readers the heads up on some of the growing trends we think that brands should start to take note of. These trends to watch out for might be in their earlier stages, more niche, or just percolating with influencer Millennials now, but they have the potential to go mainstream and grow into something that impacts the generation in a larger way. Food emerging as the new status symbol and an aspirational object is a spotlighted Trend to Watch in our Q2 report, and we’re sharing it with you today to give you a glimpse of the content, insights, and statistics that our subscribers get to take advantage of:

Is Food the New Status Symbol?

Restaurant tables full of extravagant plates, perfectly frosted donuts posed with expensive makeup or accessories, a box of macaroons held up against a backdrop of the Eiffel tower. “Food porn” has made sharing what’s on your plate commonplace, but it has also helped to spur a new trend: food is becoming the new status symbol.

44% of Millennials have posted a photo of food or drinks that they or someone else was having on social media, and 19% of 21-24-year-olds have borrowed someone else’s food to take a picture of it and post on social media. The new (anonymous) Instagram account You Did Not Eat That is getting attention and followers for calling out social media mavens who (the account says) just use food as props, often posting pictures of high-calorie food staged with their high-end accessories and donuts held next to their thigh-gaps. Though the intent of the account is to “out” those who are likely not actually eating those fatty treats, the feed also gives insight into the fact that food is being used interchangeably with luxury items to display a lifestyle to aspire to, and moments that other people should lust after.

We’re seeing pretty pastries being used in marketing for designer clothes that in the past would never have hinted that their models actually ate. Exclusive desserts like the cronut, or limited edition treats like the recent churro ice cream sandwich that started a craze in LA, have shown that Millennials are willing to line up for hours in order to be one of the lucky few to try a fleeting treat—and tell everyone they did, of course.

52% of Millennials 21-32-years-old would rather go to a food festival than a music festival, and 61% of Millennials ages 21-24 would rather have dinner at a new restaurant than buy a new pair of shoes. Today, sharing a picture of expensive cheeses, a pricey lobster roll eaten on a Tuesday, or a VIP sweet is the equivalent of saying, “I’m so fancy,” and inviting social envy the way a nice bag or jewelry would have ten years ago.

Click here to visit your Ypulse Library and download the full Q2 2014 Ypulse Quarterly report!