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How Social Media is Influencing Eating Habits

A casual scroll through Instagram, Facebook, or Pinterest will usually leave your mouth watering and your stomach growling. With everyone from home cooks to food bloggers to professional chefs posting photos and recipes, it’s easy to find inspiration for your next meal. Social media is playing a big role in our eating habits, influencing not just what we eat, but how and where we eat it, as well.

In terms of what’s showing up on our plates, trends change almost daily — fancy avocado toast and fruit-filled smoothies were a big hit in 2017. And this year images of picture-perfect donuts, protein-packed sushi bowls, and paleo-friendly desserts are taking center stage. The popular Instagram hashtag #eatingfortheinsta has 2.4 million posts and plenty of inspiring snaps for your next dinner.

Technology and social apps are also influencing how we get our food, as well. Services like Seamless, Postmates, and UberEats allow you to order from your favorite spots, even if they don’t participate in traditional delivery, making nearly every food available at any time. They have fun features like being able to see what’s popular in your area, giving recommendations based on your previous orders, and allowing you to track where your food is from the restaurant kitchen to your plate.

Social media also gives us a direct connection to the companies and chefs feeding us. Sites such as Yelp allow users to post reviews of eateries, and often those restaurants can respond and change. Facebook and Instagram are great outlets for getting in touch with corporations in a quick and easy manner — and those companies are listening to their customers. For instance, Starbucks has felt the pressure from consumers to reduce single-use plastics, and has pledged to remove and replace plastic straws from all of its locations worldwide by 2020. This is a great example of how consumer pressure can make big, lasting changes on important global issues.

While social media may have started as a way to post family photos and reunite with old friends, Instagram and Pinterest have turned into a communal table, where people from all over the world can share their favorite recipes, coffee spots, five-star restaurants, late-night pizza joints, and everything in between. It’s changing the way we talk about food, what’s showing up on our plates, and even what’s not ending up in our landfills.

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