Editorial: If it does not appear on Instagram, did it even happen?

October 04, 2016

I was working on a social media strategy proposal the other day when I came across an article from Huffington Post that talked about how Millennials only want experiences that can be shared on social media. Of course we all knew that Millennials value experiences over material things, but now there's another condition. They value experiences that can be recorded and shared, ultimately to increase their social currency, it seems.

Now, that is a thought-provoking statement. The writer went on to quote another source that hypothesises that nightclubs in UK are shutting down because they are not "unique and photogenic".

Say what? I did a double take on that paragraph when I first read it. No way! Actually if you read the link, there's much more to it than just not being 'grammable. The same thing seems to be happening to clubs in Singapore -- even though high rentals and the insane cost of alcohol (tax) could probably be more to blame than 'these Millennials'. However, what I want to talk about today is about the relationship between #FOODPORN and us.

A photo posted by @rose.nayeli on


I do find it true that in the F&B industry especially, looks do matter. Thus F&B folks should really think about it when designing or starting up their business if they want to win. Here's three reasons why.

1. Thumb-stopping power

Everybody likes looking pretty things. That's just a given. When you're scrolling down your Instagram or Facebook feed, you're probably likely to stop and even find out where that scrumptious sundae with flowers is from, as opposed to a McDonald's sundae. Same things except.. flowers!

A photo posted by Evan And Raevian✈️ (@eatandtravelwithus) on


2. Justifies the premium

Want to charge $19 for some pancakes? $22 for a waffle? Make sure it (and the surroundings) looks damn good! If someone sees the waitress bringing out a mason jar filled topped with a generous scoop of ice cream covered with chocolate dust and things sticking out from it, you can be sure someone else will want one too and pay $10 for it. Even if that concoction only costs $3 to make.




3. We eat with our eyes

There's been some literature around this (e.g. The Invention of Taste) and the conclusion seem to be that nowadays our perception of taste is largely influenced by how it looks (even if there is some backlash). That means a pretty dish does not only create appetite, but also makes us think that it tastes better. That's quite screwed up actually. In fact, thinking about it, traditional food usually looks crappy but tastes delicious, and that's ok because there was no camera phones and social media back then. Whereas now, I bet if someone were to chronicle the appearance of food in the modern century you'll find the aesthetics matching up to technology!

For example, this.



I worry sometimes that people, especially teens nowadays would not be able to accurately judge how the food they buy tastes like, because of the huge visual influence. However, I hope that we as food reviewers, bloggers and media alike, would be able to help by objectively reviewing them with our tastebuds and not our eyes!

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