The Social Feast: How creators are revolutionizing the food industry

Jenny Penich
Jenny Penich
June 14, 2023
The appearance of avocado on toast on a menu in New York is a surprise to no one. The now-staple dish traces its fame and familiarity...

The appearance of avocado on toast on a menu in New York is a surprise to no one. The now-staple
dish traces its fame and familiarity back to social media, as maybe the most potent example of how far
trending food on social media can make an impact on the wider food industry, and real life.

Our affinity to and love for food saw the food category become an instant favorite on early social media
feeds. In 2019, avocado toast reigned on Instagram feeds, with 1.8 million hashtags, and accruing a
simultaneous rise in demand for aesthetically pleasing, ‘Instagram-able’ plates. This ‘trend’ of
aesthetically pleasing food has become a staple amongst modern menus, and online content
documenting food is evolving to push boundaries further. In 2023, audiences are demanding more
than pretty plates and instead presenting an appetite for funny, honest and educational food content to
engage with.

Sharing food pictures and videos, and recipes is a trend that has extended across new and growing
social media platforms, and has been supercharged further by TikTok. To date, #food has gained over
555 billion views on TikTok. Here, TikTok’s emphasis on short-form video content meant that new
types of food content reached new types of audiences. Recipes like Gigi Hadid’s vodka pasta and
Emily Mariko’s salmon rice bowls propelled to become the new It-meals for the platforms
predominantly Gen Z and Millennial followers.

The association of influence with consumption in the food industry has quickly become synonymous,
and trending dishes with devoted hashtags have garnered cult followings and virality. In 2023, 81% of
surveyed cooks report
cooking recipes that they discover on social media.

The growth of ‘foodie’ online communities, from diet-specific to ingredient-oriented has subsequently
created an increase in exposure for food brands that are ready to join in. Waitrose recently reported its
feta cheese sales increased by 33% between May and June 2022, following ‘whipped feta’ trending on
TikTok. The British supermarket now includes TikTok in their annual food and drink report, manifesting
the undeniable influence of food content on the platform.

Social media has become integral to consumer buying appetite and the digital footprint of brands in the
food industry is loaded with opportunity. With consumers actively searching for new recipes, new
restaurants and new foods via platforms online, and 92% of consumers around the world reporting
they trust influencer marketing over traditional advertising, creators can act as a voice-piece for
brands looking to authentically take part.

By leveraging creators and user-generated content (UGC), food brands can not only propel their brand
to acclaim, but build out their narrative and branding online. The growth of communities orientated
around particular diets, ingredients and lifestyles lends itself to targeted marketing opportunities,
whereby food brands can forge meaningful, long-term partnerships with creators and communities who
truly champion and project their brand.

Similarly, creator marketing offers a unique opportunity for brands devoted to pioneering their
products, as creators and their audiences can double as a concentrated focus-group for consumer
feedback. Brands can be empowered by the creator's knowledge of both the target audience, and the
wider target market, offering brands what we describe as social listening, but better.

Creator content on social media continues to revolutionize the food industry, changing the way in
which food is shared, viewed, bought and consumed. More importantly, creators are equipping brands
who elect to join in, with expert knowledge and insight of consumer markets, as well as access to them
in a way that is more succinct, intelligible and targeted than ever before.

Join us in Cannes as our discussion continues, where we will be hosting Luke Townsin, Creative Product Strategy & Ops at TikTok alongside John Gregory-Smith; Chef, influencer, TV presenter and best-selling author and Lina Jabbari; author, recipe developer and health coach @thathealthjunkie.

Register your interest now at

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