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Instagram Food Trends:
The aesthetics of food and beverages on Social Media

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Good taste is not enough - in times of social media, drinks also have to shine visually. The shape, colour, texture and presentation of the products should encourage people to like and share - and make the users want more. We show you the Instagram food trends and more.

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The term “you are what you eat” is getting a new meaning on social media: food and drinks have become status symbols with which one likes to adorn and distinguish oneself.

A social media photo, an Instagram reel or a Facebook posting also says a lot about trend awareness - at least if you believe this small excerpt from reality. Of course, it is also part of everyday life for an influencer or private user to let fans and followers participate in the daily routine. Of course, eating and drinking are part of it!

Posting food is also fun - and encourages people to try it: 45 percent of UK consumers say that a "beautifully presented dessert in a bakery or restaurant is worth posting on social media". 36 percent of Brazilians said they chose a dish based on photos.

Source: "Eat With Your Eyes' progresses beyond novelty color - The visual appeal of food and drink with interesting colors, shapes and textures is moving from out-of-home indulgence to home-cooked and healthy food and drink", Jenny Zegler, Mintel, August 2020

Instagram food trends as a source of information

Especially for the younger target group, social media has become the main source of information for various topics, which means that Instagram food trends are quickly finding their way into real life. 44 percent of Generation Z and 40 percent of Millennials agree with the statement that social media is a helpful source for new food trends. In Generation X, 32 percent share this conviction, followed by 20 percent of baby boomers and at least twelve percent of the post-war generation.

Given the numbers, that's not surprising: In 2019, 23 billion recipes and food ideas were found on Pinterest. 344 million posts were published on Instagram that contained the hashtag #food. BuzzFeed's popular YouTube channel “Tasty” had a whopping 14.9 million subscribers in mid-2019.

Source: "Social media sets tone for color in the US - Vibrant ingredients and flavors can be used to create food and drink with the same trendy colors featured in fashion, home decor and more viral content", Jenny Zegler, Mintel, June 2019

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Instagram food trends: it's all about colour

According to Mintel, the colours on social media are decisive for whether you succeed in catching a like or a share. The colours yellow, green and black are said to be particularly successful among the Instagram food trends. Certain ingredients are now popular because of these brilliant colours - including bright yellow turmeric and green matcha, but also black coal, which is one of the trend ingredients of recent times and occupies the niche for the food colour black: coal brought among others burger buns, ice cream and various snacks on the dark side of the taste.

Strong colours as well as pastel and earth tones are well received

In addition to bright and flashy colours, soft pastel colours and earth tones also dominate the fashion and interior scene, which also play a key role in determining the colours of Instagram food trends.

Strong colours can be created, for example, with beetroot, red cocoa beans and berries. According to Mintel, extracts from the blossoms of the butterfly pea or spirulina are good sources for creating pastel colours for food: These harmonize particularly well with the current trend of relaxing with certain foods and drinks or, quite simply, practicing self-care. Pastel shades also harmonize well with drinks that contain adaptogens and CBD.

It should be noted that the overall concept, from the colour of the product itself to the packaging, has to be coherent - on social media more than in real life: after all, the sense of touch and smell are omitted on Instagram and Co. to evaluate a product. And with so much information, it is important to quickly attract the user's attention!

Source: "Social media sets tone for color in the US - Vibrant ingredients and flavors can be used to create food and drink with the same trendy colors featured in fashion, home decor and more viral content", Jenny Zegler, Mintel, June 2019

Instagrammable? Eye-catcher shape, texture and packaging decides 

Colour is not the only eye catcher with which you can score points in relation to Instagram food trends. Social media calls for unusual shapes and eye-catching textures such as creamy surfaces with various toppings. Tempting layers, such as different coloured layers of one or more components, stimulate the taste papillae even over the eyes. In terms of drinks, this is impressively demonstrated by the “Rainbow Smoothie” - a DIY drink currently hip on Instagram Food Trends: Smoothies of different colours are alternately filled into a glass, so that a colourful drink is created from different layers of colour. The Rainbow Smoothie is not only a pleasure for the eyes, but also for the palate!

“Eating with your eyes” is a movement that deserves a good portion of attention among the Instagram food trends. For example, 20 percent of Canadians say that they are interested in products with high-contrast textures when it comes to frozen sweets, and 36 percent of Chinese have already bought a dessert because it caught their eye because of its special shape. In Poland, 43 percent of consumers are of the opinion that a combination of different textures makes the perfect product - at least when it comes to baked goods.
Since Covid-19, more importance has been attached to the “healthy look” in this context. Everything that contains plenty of fruit and vegetables looks "healthy".

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Homemade style is real

Since the Corona crisis, consumers have also been cooking more and more at home - spontaneously with ingredients that they just have in the kitchen cupboard. The “Homemade” trend has again gained in importance. Much more since the withdrawal into the own flat or house due to the corona lockdown. Countless DIY recipes from grandma’s kitchen can be found on Pinterest in particular: from homemade syrups to jams, compotes and fermented fruits. Experimenting with home-brewed tea drinks - for example iced tea in all varieties - is experiencing a real hype, especially on Pinterest and Instagram. The same applies to freshly mixed lemonades, which combine fresh herbs and fruits in creative recipes. Incidentally, they are now an integral part of the drinks menu in trendy restaurants, bars and cafés!

Mintel experts conclude that private label products such as cake mixtures or ingredient kits can help home cooks save time and money. For beverages, these could be sets for mixing cocktails, for example with fruit syrups, juices or flavour drops and extracts. In addition, simple products in DIY style trigger nostalgic feelings and meet the need to create authentic taste with natural ingredients.

Source: "Eat With Your Eyes' progresses beyond novelty color - The visual appeal of food and drink with interesting colors, shapes and textures is moving from out-of-home indulgence to home-cooked and healthy food and drink", Jenny Zegler, Mintel, August 2020

CONCLUSION:

Instagram food trends create demand: Social media has become the main source of information in many areas worldwide - especially for the younger generations. Influencers appear on Instagram & Co as new opinion leaders and it can quickly happen that a private user creates a new Instagram food trend with a post that goes viral. For product development, this means that Instagram food trends are increasingly becoming a benchmark: Current colours, eye-catching shapes and layers and textures that appear delicious are all factors that determine whether a product will be successful or not. Since the focus on social media is on the visual, the appearance of the product and the packaging must be perfectly coordinated. Sustainable success is achieved if the taste also keeps what the product promises!

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Cornelia Kerschbaumer

Cornelia KerschbaumerAuthor

Director of Marketing & Communication

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