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Food and social media: what you need to know behind the science of “eating with your eyes”



Food and social media: what you need to know behind the science of “eating with your eyes”

Now it has become more and more it is our habit to go to a restaurant and before tasting the chosen dish we photograph it and publish it on our favorite social media. Although our culture is used to extolling food as a pleasure, it would now seem that food has become not only an obsession for the palate, but also for the eyes.

A new study took i 100 most popular foods and analyzed their impact on social media such as Instagram, TikTok and Google, discovering which are the most popular foods in Italy and in the world. Additionally, photographer Abigail Cockroft and food writer Laura Hadland share their industry experience to discover the main reasons why we are obsessed with certain dishes, and the science behind it.eat with your eyes“.

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Social media, when we eat food with our eyes

According to the results of the study in the first three places of the podium among the most popular foods we find pizza, ice cream and sushi. Unsurprisingly, pizza is the most photographed and shared food on social media, with more than 22 billion views on TikTok, and 59.1 million hashtags on Instagram. In second place among the most popular foods on the internet is ice cream, which has 43.9 million hashtags on Instagram and 28 billion views on TikTok.

Finally, sushi takes third place in the ranking, with approximately 7.5 billion views on TikTok and 32.1 million hashtags on Instagram. On the contrary, even if they are still delicacies and a great pleasure for the palate, not all foods have major social media popularity. Lamb is the least clicked food on social media and on Google, with 558,000 hashtags on Instagram and 54 million views on TikTok. In second and third place among the least popular foods on social media they rank grilled chicken1.1 million hashtags on Instagram and 116 million views on TikTok and the apple sauce290 thousand hashtags on Instagram and 815 million views on TikTok.

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Plus the study did a prediction regarding the foods that will be most popular in 2025, showing which foods will be the most sought after in three years on search engines and social media. Experts like food photographer Abigail Cockroft said that nowadays we all seem obsessed with this new trend to photograph succulent dishes and post them on the internet.

Photographing food satisfies our desire

For years we have been exposed to images of food in our daily routines, featured on restaurant menus, cookbooks, advertisements and more. However nothing has ever had the same impact on us as the #foodporn phenomenon on social media. Now we are exposed to ever new and stimulating images, and to photographs taken from different angles, and with different subjects and focuses.

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With the advent of the internet, all the major food bloggers around the world have begun to publish their shots without restrictions and this approach has changed the way people photograph food. Suddenly this type of shooting became more and more popular and in demand, as it showed a less formal and more ‘social’ way of present food and drink online, alluding to the fact that everyone can cook and enjoy food. Looking at pictures of food makes us satisfied, or at least to a certain extent. Once you’ve seen the food and tasted it, you don’t need to finish it. At that point we are already satisfied, as our brain has processed the desire.

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However, if it is true that looking at photos of our favorite foods on social media can be a captivating experience, we must understand that if we are exposed to digital images for a long time through computers and smartphones, this can have negative consequences on our visual health. The advice would be to seek a balance between the real world and the virtual one.

Image by Coffee Bean from Pixabay