#FoodPorn: The Growing Influence Of Social Food

Whether you like it or not, taking pictures of their plates has become the norm for young consumers, and now the power of food on social media is beginning to influence restaurants, marketing, and platforms who want to capitalize on the popularity of #foodporn. 

63% of 13-32-year-olds have posted a photo of food or drinks they or someone else was having on social media, and 57% have posted on social media about what they’re eating. That’s compared to 52% who have posted a photo of new clothes or accessories they've recently purchased. 47% of young consumers we surveyed say they consider themselves foodies. It’s no wonder the #foodporn trend has exploded. There are currently well over 54 million public pictures on Instagram alone tagged as food porn.

Food on social media has become a powerful force. From avocado toast to cronuts, it has helped inspire full-on food trends and helped make food the new status symbol. But brands might be missing the opportunity to target their plate obsessions. Only 11% of 18-29-year-olds feel like food advertising is aimed at them, according to a recent survey in the UK. If brands want to change that number, they’ll likely have to take a different approach. As Edelman recently advised to brands hoping to connect with these consumers, they eat with their eyes first, and “snackable food images are just as important as the content they accompany.” The influence of social food is spreading to marketing and menus, as brands begin to capitalize on their behavior. Here are three examples we’ve seen: 

1. Chili’s Menu Makeover

Forget that catchy "baby back" song, Chili’s new marketing is all about looking good on their customers' social feeds. The brand has taken note of young, “forward thinking” consumers’ plate-photographing tendencies, and have actually

 
 

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The Newsfeed

“I think we have a tendency to think that the world revolves around us and what we want and having a hard time to live up to the standards of having/living a perfect life.”—Female, 22, WA

A new quiz app’s R-rated categories are capturing teens’ attention. FriendO is rising through the ranks of the app store, but not by following the Play Nice, PG strategy that took tbh viral. FriendO users move up their friends’ rankings boards as they answer questions about each other, proving their friendship. If someone sends the app to three friends, they unlock NSFW categories like MSFK (Marry, Sex, Friend, Kill). But people are worried that none of these categories are barred to young users. (Mashable)

TGI Fridays is adding Instagrammable milkshakes to their menu with “cascading toppings,” “suspiciously” similar to Black Tap’s infamous creations. The “Extreme” milkshakes “take dessert to the next level” with a seasonal option piled high with Christmas cookies, and a s’mores shake topped with marshmallows, Oreos, and graham cracker crumbs. If that’s not enough to get Millennials in the door of chain restaurants that they notoriously avoid, both shakes can be ordered “boozy” (a tactic we’ve seen before). (Grub Street)

Seventeen is creating an LGBTQ community for teens with their new, “social-first” platform, Here. Instagram and Facebook form the main hub of Here, along with a dedicated vertical on Seventeen itself. Launched less than a week ago, content is already popping up on social and the site. Seventeen is appealing to the Genreless Generation, and one editor said Here will be “a resource and a place for teens to express themselves.” (Fashionista)

Rising musician Tallia Storm says her Instagram paid for her debut album. Lauded by Sir Elton John and Nile Rodgers, 19-year-old Storm leveraged The Influencer Effect for her own gain: Her debut album, Teenage Tears, was entirely self-financed via her earnings as a “fashion ‘it girl’” and Instagram influencer with over 300,000 followers. As a result, she had full creative freedom and became a “part of the growing staple of acts who are not repped by a major label.” Oh, and she got to open for Sir Elton John. (PR Newswire)

Kylie Cosmetics, Kylie Jenner’s online-only beauty brand sensation, has teamed up with Topshop to drive young shoppers in-store. Brick-and-mortar is far from dead, with research from TABS Analytics showing 66% of shoppers prefer to purchase new cosmetics in-store—and brands like this one are betting on IRL retail. Kylie Cosmetics is now available at seven Topshop stores across the country for just five weeks, and they’re accruing long lines of fans to test out the coveted lip kits in person. (BuzzFeed)

“…[Rick and Morty] has our generation's sense of nihilism, fear of wasted time, humor in unpredictability, and shy optimism in human relations.”—Female, 17, TX

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