Social media has become a tremendous asset when it comes to the marketing of food. For millennials and businesses operating within the industry, the sharing of images on to a crowded social media platform has become increasingly important, resulting in stand-out foods thriving. Rainbow bagels and cakes are perfect examples of colourful foods going viral, and how trends from other industries, in this case fashion, can be replicated or transferred.

How is the food industry embracing this new trend and what impact is the Instagram-effect having on brands?

Crucial Colour

The hive of Instagram activity has meant that colour is being wholly embraced and celebrated in the food industry and the adage of ‘standing out from the crowd’ could not be more applicable to the Instagram trend. Vibrant colours, glitters and other decorations are continually being added to food products to make them more appealing as the user scrolls down their news feed.

With this in mind, natural food colours are opening up opportunities for brands to deliver vibrant and colour-rich foods. Consumers do not want artificial ingredients, but they still expect food and beverage products to look good and stand out on social media. The ‘Instagrammable’ food trend isn’t just about creating attractive images that catch the eye; it’s about capturing a specific type of lifestyle. If you ask any millennial, the lifestyle is all about authenticity, naturality and aesthetics.

At Cornelius, we are continually seeking new innovative ingredients and decorations which enhance the presentation of food in a range of categories, partnering with great suppliers and partners which produce amazing ingredients, colours and extracts to enhance the appearance and vibrancy of food when uploaded to an Instagram news feed.

Cornelius Principal Chr. Hansen is a leading provider of natural colours that are processed from edible, natural sources such as fruits and vegetables. The natural colours and colouring foodstuffs range is suitable for a variety of applications in confectionery, ice cream, beverages and prepared foods.

Another Cornelius Principal, Watson Inc. produces a range of Edible Glitter™ products aimed at meeting the growing demand for clean labelling of natural colours. The glitters are produced using colours from a wide range of sources including cabbage, algae, carrots, radish and turmeric and can be used as a sprinkle, topping, or inclusion in confectionery products, baked goods, icing or anywhere requiring eye-catching colour. These types of products are great for achieving the perfect Instagram picture.

Cool Creativity

Instagram is one of the most creative apps out there, especially with video. Vertical video is everywhere on Instagram right now, from Instagram Live to Instagram Stories and Instagram TV (IGTV), it enables users to upload video intended for viewing in portrait mode which provides a better-quality viewing experience. This opens up avenues for brands to become more creative with their food.

Recipe videos are becoming increasingly popular to accompany the rise in popularity of healthy foods which are changing consumer values on social media. Last year (2018), the global market for healthy foods reached over $1trillion and that growth is set to continue. Companies in the food industry are staying ahead of the curve with over 30% of all food brands now investing in healthy food developments. Subsequently, brands uploading videos showing users how to become creative with colours and glitters is increasingly in popularity.

The channel is an excellent way for brands to be creative and inventive with the way they promote their products.

Sustainability Stories

Beyond the look and appearance of foods, Instagram is also able to tell a story and inspire those looking for a sustainable lifestyle. As a result, the provenance of food is more important than ever before as brands and consumers seek to support the drive towards sustainable food production.

The ‘Blue Planet Effect’ has made consumers more environmentally aware and interested in the eco-credentials of the products they buy. Since then, hashtags such as #PlasticFree have become extremely popular as users try to promote an eco-friendlier lifestyle to other users.

Many companies are now moving towards a wholly sustainable business model to appeal to a broader customer base. As an example, many users are boycotting companies whose products contain palm oil to help end deforestation and the endangerment of many species of orangutan, elephants and rhinos and will advise their followers to do the same. For this reason, it is vital moving forward that brands not only create eye-catching content, but they must ensure the ingredients and accessories being used have been sustainably sourced so as not to turn users away.

As we progress further into 2019, more brands are expected to share all forms of content on Instagram to promote their sustainability. Videos, stories and images that show the origins of their products and the journey it has taken from farm to plate will become popular with both brand and users as they seek to build a sustainable reputation amongst users.

Cornelius manages its supply chain to the highest standards of safety and quality to ensure that we minimise our impact on the environment. We are third-party verified to the Chemical Industry Responsible Care® Programme and actively support the ‘Together for Sustainability’ initiative established by many large European chemical manufacturers.

A Social Future

Instagram has become a trend-setter in its own right by generating its own trending food topics and hashtags, which heavily influence the content users upload. This has made it easier for brands to spot trends in their early stages and create products which tie into them.

By creating stand-out content that features vibrant and colourful products, companies can take advantage of the growing ‘Instagrammability’ of food to promote their brand. The popularity of Instagram is only set for continued growth and new trends will emerge frequently which brands will be able to spot early on through digital tech.

As 2019 progresses, we can expect to see more originality from food brands ensuring they are not just keeping up with the market but are standing out and becoming industry leaders via their digital presence. Just as people use TripAdvisor to judge whether or not to book a trip, more people will begin to use Instagram to determine whether or not they will purchase a food product or visit a restaurant.