Posting Instagrams Of Your Food Could Actually Be Good For You
Do your friends get pissed off every time you whip out your phone and instruct everyone not to eat until every dish on the table has been photographed? Same.
Well, you can stop feeling guilty about that.
According to new research published in the Journal of Consumer Marketing, Instagramming your food could make it taste better and encourage you to eat healthier.
The study was broken down in three parts, with over 120 participants in each. While interesting, the results of the first two parts weren't all that surprising. People perceived foods with rich ingredients as tasting better, and photographing an “indulgent” food (in this case, red velvet cake) before eating it caused people to rate it higher than if they didn't photograph it first.
People who photographed their healthy food didn't rate it as tasting any differently than those who didn't snap photos.
Part three is where the study got interesting, though. When participants were shown photos of healthy food and told other people were eating it, that's when taking photos made a difference. Study participants were more interested in eating the healthy food themselves when they were part of specific “social norms.”
Plus, photographing your food before digging in builds anticipation, which makes you enjoy it more when you actually get around to eating it.
More research needs to be conducted on this topic, of course — hey, Instagram has only been around for so many years — and constantly Instagramming your food isn't all good. As psychiatrist Valerie Taylor told Huffington Post, it can lead to larger issues surrounding food.
The concern becomes when all [people] do is send pictures of food. We take pictures of things that are important to us, and for some people, the food itself becomes central and the rest — the venue, the company, et cetera — is background.
It's always good to take both sides of the story into account and watch out for red flags.
But for now, I'm going to keep Instagramming my kale.
Citations: Instagramming Your Food May Signal Bigger Problem, Researcher Says (Huffington Post), How consumer-generated images shape important consumption outcomes in the food domain (Journal of Consumer Insight), The Psychological Case for Instagramming Your Food (New York magazine)
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