Apparently one in five of us has shared a food photo online or with friend in the last month.
Of course that’s partly to do with the fact that we all have phone cameras and the compulsion to use them, and the desire to keep our social media feeds well fed. But if the food we’re ordering, shooting and eating didn’t look so appetising, we wouldn’t feel the urge.
I’m willing to bet that good looking food is well made food, prepared with a high degree of care and attention. In the culinary world though, beauty might allude to a certain level of quality but historically, it’s by no means a guarantee of healthiness.
Many of us are eating better looking and better tasting food but how can that encourage more of us to eat food that is simply better for us?
The Food Log is our collated record of a recent food trends trip to LA and Seattle. Healthy eating was one of the themes we explored, among others like the future of casual dining, surprising and inventive flavour mash-ups, creating hero dishes out of much loved basics and how plant based is now mainstream, in LA anyway.
Instagram, Facebook and Twitter are single-handedly driving our interest in the aesthetics of what we eat but ultimately they’re just amplifying the underlying interest that’s been slowly building for the last twenty odd years. And with that interest comes awareness. Of ingredients, processes, techniques and ultimately, choices. So when you think about it, it’s only natural that we begin to think more about health and choose healthy food options more often.
That in itself isn’t new, brands and retailers have been investing in healthier ranges for some time and the nature and focus of that investment has moved around depending on the fads that evolve as quickly as the facts do. What we saw in the US was just more of it: bigger ranges, more choices in more categories than ever.
Another trend we noticed was the idea of personalisation and the very American idea of having it your way
It’s clear our American cousins make it easier to eat healthily by offering more choice, making that choice a positive and aspirational one and making it more affordable, so collectively it becomes more everyday and consequently more popular. Which in turn feeds innovation, choice and affordability.
Another trend we noticed was the idea of personalisation and the very American idea of having it your way. Burger King did it a long time ago so it’s nothing new but we’ve all seen the TV shows where a character walks into a deli and orders a sandwich on this bread with that filling but not that one, served with whatever and topped with extra ta-dah. That’s the total antithesis to the prevailing British attitude, as well as being counter to our deeply held perceptions, where chef knows best. We’ve always been able to vote with our feet but traditional and social media has put us as consumers and diners, very much in the game and in many ways, in charge of it.
So we want food with theatre, we want to have an experience, we want to share it with the world and we want that world to know that we’re conscious, aware and we make positively considered choices. And if all that can be personalised so it’s seemingly just for us, we’ll have that too. Now clearly not everybody across a nation of 300m+ people makes those choices but we won’t go in to that here…
As with all successful marketing, it’s about ‘truth’. These days we seem to prefer our truth served up by our friends and followers, beautifully shot, artfully filtered and posted straight to us. So the answer to how we eat more healthily is, simply, to eat more beautifully.
If you’d like to know more about the food trends we noticed in the US, we have a few copies of The Food Log available, just email firstname.lastname@example.org