Hungry for some information? Blogger Madeleine O’Toole (‘18) helps to explain how food has more followers than you.
A new phenomenon has arisen in the social media realm of famous pets and trending memes: food bloggers. Whether this trend has been manifested with hopes of becoming a healthier society, or because humans enjoy staring at pictures of food, social media and the online world have caused a change in today’s food culture. People are turning to Instagram accounts and food blogs to find inspiration and because of this a community between so called “foodies” has developed.
Prominent “foodie,” Madeleine O’Toole (‘18), runs the blog Granola Grrl and the Instagram account @granolagrrl. From her experience, social media positively impacts food culture and the people involved in it. O’Toole said,“Personally, I use my account to spread a positive message about food and highlight to others that eating does not have to be a burden.” There are many accounts similar to O’Toole’s that promote living a healthy lifestyle, but also emphasize balance. O’Toole admitted, “In the past, accounts were focused on negatives such as calorie counting and super strict dieting tips. Now, people are realizing the importance of having a healthy relationship with what they eat because when it comes down to it, food is not supposed to be your enemy.”
Social media brings many opportunities to bloggers like O’Toole by giving them not only an outlet, but also a place to connect with other food lovers. “I have been able to meet up with fellow Memphians who are equally as passionate about food as me!” she said. This online community is able to use connections to develop ideas and encourage each other.
The restaurant and commercial side of food culture is another major part of the online community. Many dining locations have an Instagram account to connect with customers. “Being popular online can really help a restaurant’s business, especially when trying to reach a certain age group.” said O’Toole. And yes, this “age group” means the “screenagers” that the youth generation has become. By following restaurants, bakeries, and coffee shops, teenagers can greatly impact the popularity of businesses within the food industry. “A big part of succeeding in the restaurant business is getting your name out there and having an online account really allows this to happen.” O’Toole pointed out.
As a result of trending recipes and restaurants, certain foods have gained popularity. Dishes such as smoothie bowls, yogurt with granola, and anything avocado related are frequently featured on these accounts. O’Toole explained that the more aesthetically pleasing the foods are, the more commonly posted they become. She said, “My recipes are super simple, but by making a dish look nice, it honestly becomes more appealing.” She first realized the level of creativity needed in making food when she began working at the restaurant because plating and presentation was so important. “Food is an art form, and by making it look good, you are putting love into what you eat.” she explained.
From getting customers at a coffee shop to introducing creative vegan recipes, food accounts affect the day to day lives of followers all over world. O’Toole expressed, “It is so cool that my personal health journey that was previously inspired by others is currently inspiring my own followers all because of social media.” Food has brought people together for quite some time through dinner parties, lunch gatherings, and fun get-togethers. Now, events with family or friends are not the only way people can connect over their love for eating; social media has provided a platform to spread that love to millions of people on the internet.