Food porn has been present for several decades, at least in the United States where it was mainly used by food manufacturers as a promotional tool. This phenomenon grew to unbelievable proportions with a little help from social networks and the ‘#foodporn’ hashtag, that’s currently the second most popular tag in the food category on Instagram.
You want to hear some more statistics? The ‘#foodporn’ hashtag has more than 30 million viewers on Instagram, the Twitter account with the same name has around 77k followers and similar Facebook pages have between 40 and 50 thousand likes. In addition to this, a survey done in 2013 determined that more than 39% of Australians aged from 18 to 24 have shared photos of their food orders on social media at least once. The number of food porn shares is probably even larger today, plus there are thousands of influencers who share food they have made for commercial or non-commercial purposes.
#FoodPorn and Healthy Living Trends Merge
Sharing photos of food and adding #foodporn hashtags hasn’t been the only food trend that has skyrocketed in the previous decade. We also shouldn’t forget that people (especially Millennial and Post Millennial generations) are now much more into healthy living, which includes well balanced diets, organic food, whole cereal, delicious bars etc. The fact that corporate giants like, for example, Whole Foods Market Inc. have been built from scratch by following this social trend tells us how health-conscious new generations are.
Since food porn was traditionally associated with fast food chains and people who don’t care much about healthy food habits, recent years have been big turning point for the food porn trend. Today, not only the look of presented dishes, but also the ingredients, calories, fats and other criteria determine the popularity of photos and recipes shared under the #foodporn hashtag.
We are all trying with more or less luck to go crazy for ‘broccoli and buckwheat with wild mushroom sauce’ kind of food porn, instead of the ‘roasted pork rolled in bacon strips, with melted cheese on top’ one. While doing this, most of us are not even aware of one very important criteria that determines how popular food porn photos and recipes among healthy-oriented people are. Unconsciously we always side with healthy and handsome looking food bloggers, and think that eating the food they promote will make us look exactly like them.
The Handsome Chef Craze
During our childhood we all imagined chefs as jolly over-weight guys. Some of the most stereotypical examples are: Chef Louis from the Little Mermaid and Tony “That’s Amore” from Lady and the Tramp. Chefs we see on TV and on social networks lately look exactly the opposite. Rachel Ray, Jamie Oliver, Gordon Ramsey and Nigella Lawson look like they’ve been practicing well-balanced diets, without at least half of the ingredients they add to their dishes. With food porn bloggers, things are not that different. In the recent Prejudice on Plate survey, researchers determined that dishes made by overweight food bloggers are commonly tagged as less healthy than the ones posted by skinny chefs.
This practically means that a big portion of a chef’s followers doesn’t only look for delicious and healthy food recipes, but for influencers who will change their life for the better with his/her own example. Unfortunately this trend also makes some really healthy recipes fall behind, because of the looks of their creators, as well as many unhealthy dishes to pass as healthy ones, just because the person who posted them on Instagram looks skinny.
When it comes to food bloggers, this information is very helpful for growing their audience and making their recipes more popular. Food blogging has become a lifestyle a long time ago, and people don’t want to listen about healthy food from people who they don’t consider perfect role-models for the diet they promote. Strictly commercial offers are amazingly unpopular when it comes to food and every restaurant, tavern, chef or food blogger needs to go one step further into proving he/she really cares about the dishes that will be served at the table or on their Facebook and Instagram account.
This also makes things a little bit confusing for food porn followers. An important point when it comes to food porn is that if a blogger who has posted a photo and a recipe looks healthy and fit, it doesn’t mean that their recipes are like that. That is why people who are following a special diet regime always need to double-check how healthy the ingredients used for preparing the dishes that look magical on handsome blogger’s timeline are. Only by checking each recipe individually and not believing in miracles when it comes to weight loss and healthy living will we be able to eat both delicious and healthy food. After all, food porn is mainly about business and marketing, and delicious looking dishes combined with handsome chefs are some of the main ingredients for making tones of cash.