A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Bites

Food presentation is becoming more important than ever before, taking a newfound place at the top of restaurant owners’ and chefs’ concerns. This is in large part due to the popularity of Instagram, which allows users to instantly share photos with followers and others worldwide.  Sharing images of meals on social media platforms such as Instagram has raised the bar on food presentation–challenging both home cooks and chefs alike to create meals that deliver from both taste and appearance perspectives.

Instagram first launched in 2010, but in the last few years it has seen the kind of exponential growth that has launched it into the same conversations as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Instagram, however, is strictly for sharing of pictures and videos, often with accompanying hashtags for easy searching and sorting. While people typically share pictures of anything from vacations to sporting events or concerts from their social media accounts, food photos are becoming more popular than any other photo category on Instagram.

Taking pictures of food and sharing with followers and other social media users is becoming the norm as technology and digital platforms continue to evolve and connect the world. Many people are broadcasting their latest kitchen creations, and this practice continues in restaurants where patrons are busy snapping pictures of their meals to share with the digital community. As a result of this sharing, restaurants and chefs have been forced to become more creative with new dishes, often spending much more time on presentation than before.

Because people now have the ability to share their creations with the click of a button to millions of users worldwide, consumers are now exposed to dishes they would not otherwise be aware of–effectively broadening their culinary horizons. Restaurants stand to gain from this too, as they can now gauge what their customers are interested in and which dishes will be their next big hits. Giving consumers more ideas leads to interest in more eclectic dishes that have the potential to become the dish families refer to when they say they love “mom’s home cooking”. While meals may take longer to prepare as a result of this greater emphasis on presentation, creating these Instagram-worthy meals generally leads to a better bottom line.

For the forseeable future, social media will continue to revolutionize the food industry–particularly on Instagram. People cooking at home and restaurants are spending more time than ever on the appearance of their food to “share” on Instagram, resulting in greater exposure through searchable hashtags, better meals, and more connectedness between people worldwide who can showcase regional foods to a global audience, bringing the world closer one bite at a time.