Picture Perfect Food

Aira Dolfo
What does it mean to be ‘instragrammable’? Food on Instagram has dramatically changed the food culture with viral photos influencing the way we eat. For many people, Instagram is how they find new restaurants and cafes to eat at, just on the basis of how visually appealing it appears, thus making eating a visual experience.
First take a photo…
It’s not uncommon to find yourself stopping your friends from touching their food for the sole chance of you taking a quick picture of their food. Your friends maybe hungry and annoyed at being delayed from devouring their meal. Sometimes, it may take you even 5 to 10 minutes for you to take that picture shot or boomerang. But it’s social proof. After all, did you really try that ice cream if you didn’t post it on Instagram?
…and then eat.
There are hundreds of accounts based on food. Some are city based while others feature food from around the world. Others post homecooked meals that are perfectly placed on a plate with an arranged dining table. There are gifs and videos of people pulling apart sandwiches and photos of cookies with melting chocolate. All these graphics are convincing and represent food in a glamourized depiction. People will flock to restaurants and cafes just to try it.
@stuffedicecreamnyc @vibrantandpure @deksennyc @mrbiggsmenu @thebaddeal
“Bright colours, unusual and unique dishes work well hence the rise of rainbow bagels, freak shakes and unicorn ice-cream..”
Angie Silver

Previous food trends on instagram include rainbow colored food, gold-leaf soft serve and faces printed on lattes. These foods appear to be novelty at first, often drawing large crowds to the door. After a while, these trends do disappear and become just another ‘instagram food’.

It’s also interesting to recognize how these foods don’t appear as food anymore but almost an art form. How often do you find yourself craving a rainbow grilled cheese sandwich? Often times, none at all. But scrolling through photos of it may sound intriguing.


There is an influx of pictures of greesy, cheesy foods on Instagram. While these foods may be too much too consume, it is gratifying to watch someone pull cheese apart. I find that scrolling through these images provides enough satisfaction to not even have the urge to try the foods. Pastas, burgers and lattes look pixel pefect. They’re satisfying to watch which poses the question on how food on instagram is influencing the way we perceive and crave food. Is it just another form of entertainment?

Instagram photos also contribute to our habits of eating out so often. More prominent in urban areas like New York, L.A., and San Francisco which can be considered food cities.

The Backdrop
Not only is food being perfectly presented, restaurants and cafes have started designing and curating their spaces to look good in photos. It’s not uncommon to find a neon letter sign or a floral wallpaper in the front of the store where customers can take a photo of their food in front of. Often times, I’m not only thinking about the food I’m taking a picture of but the angle. Is there a bright colorful background? Is there too much clutter or people in the background?
Food on Instagram has become curated by both the people taking the photos and the people selling the food. Success is determined by the number of likes, comments and its viral outcome. Does it even matter if the food taste good?
Trudy explores the satisfaction found through media posted online similar to food on Instagram. The colorful pictures attract people to scroll endlessly through pictures, videos and gifs.
Technology has distracted us from being present in the moment. Tata explores how children have become dependent on technology and has impacted the way they act. People from all generations can’t seem to leave their phones away from the dinner table.