Research reveals the lengths people will go to get the best photo of their food

·3-min read

Over a third of people have ordered food they didn't actually eat so they could post it on social media, according to new research.

In a survey of 2,000 people, 40% admitted to uploading images of food or beverages that they themselves did not consume — with 19% confessing that they'd never intended to eat it in the first place.

Twenty-seven percent of respondents also said their desire to post better-looking food photos online has led to a change in their diet over the years.

That's more than half of the 44% who "frequently" post images of their food on social media.

Conducted by OnePoll on behalf of California Figs, the survey also found that 57% of people will physically move or rearrange a dish to get the best photo angle.

And 59% have stopped friends from digging in to grab a photo of their order first, or know someone who's done the same thing to them.

"It's no surprise social media continues to influence people's habits in unexpected and unique ways, including food trends. What we found enlightening was the importance of photogenic foods and how that has impacted the rise in popularity of foods like figs," says Karla Stockli, CEO of the California Fig Advisory Board.

The research also explored how respondents are affected by what they've seen on social media, finding that more than half (53%) were inspired to try a recipe after seeing it on their feed or timeline. 

The most common examples were nostalgic recipes from past decades, followed by plant-based alternatives to meat (both 22%), as well as those featuring trendy fruits (21%).

One respondent even mentioned the current TikTok trend of watermelon and mustard as something that they'd tried after seeing it on social media. 

Eighty-five percent of respondents said they've experienced cravings for a food they've seen on social media.

Although respondents were most likely to notice photos of pizza (41%), burgers (37%), and specialty cocktails (30%) on social media, one in six cited photogenic fruits like figs and yuzu as a frequent occurrence.

In fact, 68% of respondents who've seen fig-based recipes on social media said that they were inspired to try the fruit for themselves. 

Social media is also increasingly important as a tool for researching new recipes; 54% of those polled said they use social media to do this most often — putting it behind general internet searches (62%) and above traditional cookbooks (44%), in terms of popularity.

"Social media can open people up to new tastes and experiences, allowing them to broaden their horizons and discover a love for something that they may not have tried before," continued Stockli. "One trend we can directly attribute to social media is the increase of figs on pizza. They're full of fiber and different vitamins, so they're a great way to add a healthy spin on a classic dish — fresh figs are also seasonal, so there's only a few more months in the year to try them, and join the others on social media. If you haven't tried it, you're missing out!"

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