By: Kate Bartick, Carolina Hall and Jacob Martella
Waffle fries smothered in melted cheese, chocolate sauce oozing between layers of fluffy pancakes stacked feet into the air, thick burgers topped with anything from a fried egg to a side of mac and cheese. A quick scroll through Instagram shows that food is fueling, quite literally, the latest social media craze: The Food Instagram.
Food Instagram accounts are becoming increasingly popular, with followers ranging from thousands to millions. Buzzfeed’s food account, @buzzfeedfood, which regularly posts close up pictures of food as common as pizza and as outlandish as philly cheesesteak eggrolls, has over two million followers. Many nationwide food accounts, like @foodporndaily1, have over 100,000 followers, and even local city accounts such as @austinfoodstagram and @austinmymouth have followings nearing the 50,000 mark. One thing is clear; people love looking at pictures of food.
But what lies behind this mouth-watering phenomenon is a little murkier.
“I follow food Instagrams because I think it’s entertaining to see the creative, different foods out there,” Dani Glazer, a senior at the University of Texas said. “Instagram has even given me a couple ideas of things to cook in my own life.”
Abby Hall, a freshman at the University of Texas, agrees with Glazer.
“I follow tons of different food accounts, mostly for fun,” Hall said. “Some of them are Austin accounts that give me restaurant ideas to try, but the bigger Instagrams I follow just for the purpose of looking at delicious food.”
While the entertainment aspect of food certainly plays an integral role in the instagram food craze, a broader impact of the trend can also be acknowledged.
“I think that food Instagrams are becoming a trend in our daily culture and something to break up the every day social media scene,” Rebecca Hanai, a University of Texas senior, said. “I think food as an art is becoming a trend, and making food creative, blending things that normal wouldn’t be blended, is something people are starting to pick up on and become intrigued with.”
If just for fun or for a deeper artistic value, the popularity of food Instagrams is undeniable. But the trend doesn’t have to be for viewing only. A recent study published by the Journal of Consumer Marketing found that photographing food before it is eaten could actually increase the tastiness of the food consumed.
Researchers found that “pausing momentarily to produce an image of your perfectly plated pasta, gorgeously cheesy pizza, towering burger or decadently delicious-looking donuts, rather than diving right in, helps one savor indulgent foods, increasing attitudes and taste evaluations when consumption actually takes place.”
So whether you are searching for a tasty new restaurant, seeking artistic value, or simply looking for a lighthearted social media break, one thing is for sure: if you’re hungry, stick to Twitter—or try it yourself.