We live in a time when “instagrammability” is built into a restaurant’s framework. Tables are placed near large windows so that each dish is naturally “instaworthy,” tabletops are designed based on their texture and color, and matte plates are chosen in order to reduce glare (the list goes on). As ridiculous as this might seem, it makes sense when you consider the numbers:
Two and a half billion people around the world have the equivalent of a camera in hand, at all times. As a result, more photos are taken every minute in the digital age than all of those that were taken in the 150 years prior .
Instagram influencers are also often the sole reason why a restaurant succeeds. Black Tap Burger never had hours-long lines twisting around SoHo blocks, a BuzzFeed story with over 2 million views, and a feature on ABC’s "The Chew", until a few influencers posted photos of their Black Tap Burger milkshakes.
The world of social media marketing has taken advantage of this medium, with participatory media becoming a leading force in driving content and commerce. Photographs aren’t just taken and hung on the wall anymore, they are edited and recontextualized to appeal to a specific desire of the masses.
But that's not to say that users don’t desire authenticity. Take for example Snapchat - a platform predicated on capturing authentic moments. Snapchat's now a mammoth of a platform, growing nearly two-fold since 2014, boasting over 80 billion views per day, and becoming one the most valuable venture-backed companies in the world. And recently, Instagram has attempted to mimic this approach with their Stories application. All of this suggests an audience that's also looking to find a space to go and forget, to consign their social posts to oblivion.
Of the numerous types of Instagram influencers out there, those that promote food reflect this common social media struggle of juggling the authentic and inauthentic image. And in order to become a Foodstagram influencer, you must be aware of this banded division.
Therefore there are two “Instaculinary” schools to choose from: the (1) highly stylized (inauthentic), or the (2) minimally stylized (authentic). As you can see from the graph below you can amass a large following in either category.