Written by Hayley Coleby • Published 31st January 2014

Image Courtesy of Lilian, flickr. com

Image Courtesy of Lilian, flickr. com


I bravely used the term ‘Food Porn’ in a client meeting recently to which the client responded, ‘I beg your pardon…’.

I hastened to add that I was simply referring to food photography and the attractiveness and presentation style of some food! More recently, the term has been developed as a hashtag used by the masses when sharing pictures of their freshly cooked dinner or calorific post-work treat on social media sites such as Pinterest and Instagram.

Food culture has definitely boomed over recent years, aided nicely by the development of photo-sharing social media channels, influential food television programmes (and chefs) and the expansion of a foodie network. In my opinion, the first has had the biggest impact on brands so I will expand on this some more below…

Photo Sharing on Social Media:

Social media plus strong imagery makes a compelling combination and as mentioned earlier, Pinterest and Instagram are at the forefront of this relatively new wave of social networks that showcase beautiful images, uploaded by artists, brands and the general public. Pinterest has over 53 million monthly unique users globally and while Facebook is mainly used for posting about real-time happenings, the attraction of Pinterest is its use for future plans… like cooking and baking.

What I mean here is that when I’m in Sainsbury’s completing my weekly shop, I refer to the Pinterest board I’ve created of meals with recipe pins and browse the aisles looking for the required ingredients. Pinterest is fully aware of its strong connection with food and is now making it much easier for users to find relevant recipes on its platform. Users can now enter individual foods and ingredients into the search bar on Pinterest, which will then surface relevant recipe pins from across the site. Previously, searching for ingredients returned recipes alongside other photos and pins. In addition, users can filter so that only recipes are returned when ingredients are searched. Aspiring chefs will be able to filter the results by selecting from a handful of cuisine options along the left-hand side of the page, including vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free and paleo. Another filter, “indulge me,” will surface the recipe pins that aren’t concerned with calorie counts.

The recent change supports Pinterest’s focus on “rich pins,” or pins that contain extra data alongside the image.

Similarly, Instagram claims it now has 160 million monthly active users globally, with 65 billion photos uploaded every day and with a billion likes per day! Interestingly, UK brands using the channel have succumbed to the fact that in order to grow engagement and their following they need to post a range of photo content, and those updates with the most hits tend to be (surprise surprise) food photography, otherwise referred to in this post as #FoodPorn.

Although food snaps may seem ‘off brand’ to some less socially conscious CEO’s, content creators can be clever about the way they link back to the business. Missguided, the online fashion retailer, are very good at practicing this and this cake image received over 7k forms of interaction…

I don’t know about you, but I’m now really hungry…