I began my research for this article as I do most - with a quick search on Google. I typed “social media food trends”, followed by whatever random combination of words I’ve recently seen bandied about in the comments section of some of the more trend aware ‘Grammers. Unicorn food. Rainbow bagels. Freak Shakes. What is this madness?

I quickly realised I should have started with the healthier food trends, like buddha bowls, wholegrain smoothies, and anything involving smashed avocado. I never knew how repulsive a bagel could be.

So why are people so attracted to this type of food, specifically fake-looking noms like mermaid toast? Is it the everyone-is-doing-it factor? Or the fact that they just have to be part of the group of people who have eaten it and taken a picture of themselves doing so, like a badge of honour?

I like to describe social media as a black hole that absorbs EVERYTHING. Your time, your brain cells, you as a whole. It’s not only time-consuming and addictive but incredibly influential too. I know this because I’ve experienced it many ways. Take bloggers/vloggers/influencers of any kind; If you follow at least one of the aforementioned chances are you have either bought, ate or done something they “recommended” (a.k.a most likely got paid to recommend). It’s easy to freak out a little about this, because it essentially means that you are either a) slightly susceptible to marketing, b) addicted to social media or c) both!

When it comes to how social media plays a part within the food industry, one thing is clear – a good review on The New York Times might not cut it anymore for new restaurants and pop-ups. A couple of “influencers” with hundreds of thousands of Instagram followers can put a restaurant on the map in seconds. Perhaps it’s important to note that many new restaurants are capitalising on the fact that millennials are a heck of an audience in terms of numbers, responsivity, and trend awareness. They are tech-savvy, prepared to pay for niche food and don’t hold back when it’s time to share their thoughts. But the question is, how much of this “trendy food” tastes better than the normal fare we’re used to? Are food trends just a means for companies to have their 15 seconds of fame? I mean, how many unicorn toasties can people stomach before they start vomiting rainbows?

If you are late to the party and left wondering what food trends you may have missed, here are some of the most popular from the last few months:

Crazy-ish

We all love a little bit of excitement in our lives, and for some people, excitement comes in the form of multicoloured edible food. It’s difficult to pinpoint the beginning of most of these trends, since once they begin, they sort of snowball uncontrollably – if you don’t believe me, do a quick search on Pinterest for “rainbow food”.

Rainbow Bagels Mermaid Toast Unicorn Latte
Rainbow Toast Rainbow Toastie Freakshakes

Healthy-ish

It’s not all sugar and carbs on Instagram. There’s obviously food trends to satisfy those health and fitness obsessives, too. If you don’t believe me, check out the #smoothie hashtag – there are 7,437,287 posts and counting. That’s a lot of smoothies.

Acai Bowls  Smoothie Bowls Buddha Bowls Avocado everything

Delish

I have an extremely sweet tooth, which is why I would never say no to a donut! Below are some of the most normal trends – the coneCHURRO® being my personal favourite.

Cronuts Donuts Burgers Dominique Ansel’s Chocolate Chip Cookie Shot coneCHURRO®

Sometimes it only takes someone with a crackpot idea to launch a successful food business, and it’s clear that the best way to do that right now is through social media.
Think about it, how many times has Instagram influenced what and where you choose to eat? Social media is more powerful than ever. For me, platforms like Instagram allow me to keep up to date with what’s happening in the food scene all over the world, “foodstagramming” is alive and well! Which is why we should all use it to our advantage, don’t be too quick to judge and embrace it with an open mind – you never know, you might actually find something you like!

Hungry for more? @foodyfetish might just do the trick.

Sources: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
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Julieta Lucca

Julieta is an Italo-Argentine writer, recipe developer, food stylist and photographer. She currently lives in London with her boyfriend and two Siamese cats Penny & Olive. She loves food, tequila and the show Brooklyn 99, in that order.

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  • Food trends are getting crazier! I feel like a lot of it has to do with presentation. Instagram is definitely a very on-trend platform! -Audrey | Brunch at Audrey’s

    • Very true! Kind of feels like people will make anything just to get it noticed right? | Sophie LFB Social Media Intern