#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 move around every few years so it would be a huge hassle to have to buy and sell property so frequently.”—Female, 28, IN

Gen Z will spend the most on rent of any generation, but Millennials aren’t far behind. HotPads estimates that 2-20-year-olds will spend $226,000 on rent before they buy a home and 24-38-year-olds will ring in at $202,000. Despite the difference, Gen Z will own their first home one year earlier than Millennials because they’ll have “a stronger job market than [M]illennials”—but, despite the myths, they are buying homes in greater numbers. PS: Los Angeles tops the list of where young demos will spend the most on rent. (Business Insider)

What’s behind board games' popularity today? The NPD Group found that board games grew 8% compared to the toy industry’s overall growth of 8% in the past year and has “no signs of slowing down.” Digital detoxing plays a part, as more Millennial parents worry about their kids’ screen time and seek toys that foster face-to-face relationships. But despite the analog appeal, games are also getting high-tech and the word-of-mouth media they receive propels social media-friendly games like Pie Face to the top of toy charts. (Kidscreen)

Parents still have the most influence over kids today, but online celebrities are also top role models. Mintel research found that 86% of 6-17-year-olds say their parents are among their top role models, 62% say teachers, and 41% say siblings. But the top kind of celebrity that gets added to the category are social media celebrities at 35%, followed closely by musicians and athletes. Only 22% said actors were among their top role models and just 16% said the President. (MediaPost)

Disney has a new beverage to fill your Instagram feed: The Purple Wall Slushie. The Millennial & Gen Z-loved company has had no problem coming up with social media-friendly items, from Baby Groot bread to a viral Beauty and the Beast-inspired tumbler, and now they’ve rolled out a boba and taro beverage at Disney World. The Purple Wall is a famous destination to snap a pic for social media in the Magic Kingdom, and this slushy is made specifically to match up with the wall (and monetize on it). (POPSUGARInsider)

Speaking of Instagrammability, the Space Needle’s new, clear benches are sure to make for a thrilling photo op. The iconic viewing deck for the Seattle skyline has been in the midst of a makeover to create a better (and decidedly more social media-worthy) viewing experience. A metal base and caging has been replaced with a high glass wall from floor to sky, and so-called “skyrisers” will let visitors sit right on the edge of it all—and snap a selfie. (Curbed)

“People have been planning outfits since the start of the year [for prom].”—Male, 15, NC

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