Every so often, it happens. I'm absentmindedly scrolling through the Explore feed on Instagram, laughing at videos of cute puppies and funny posts from my favorite celebrities when I spot a photo of a mouthwatering dish. When it comes to food, I'm pretty easy to please, but a food porn image that's perfectly cropped and has lighting so great that I can pick up every texture and hue of the dish makes my mouth water like nothing else. According to new research, a few specific factors can determine why you Instagram your food, not to mention how much engagement your pic of the perfect blueberry tart or the most stunning roasted eggplant will get.
The new study, published in the Journal of Business Research, tested the effects of different menu styles on participants' food and restaurant opinions, including their likeliness to post their meals on Instagram. Per HuffPost, the researchers divided 185 people ages 20 to 84 into four groups and gave them menus to see how they influenced the participants' opinions about the restaurant. According to the study's results, those who received menus that used a font that looked handwritten (as opposed to a standard typed font) not only had a more favorable view of the restaurant, but were also more likely to engage on social media as a result by posting a picture of their meal.
The thing is, the effects of the handwritten menu were only present when participants were first told that the restaurant they were eating at was healthy. According to HuffPost, these groups were given a statement about the restaurant ahead of time, which said, “Its entire menu is based on locally-grown, non-GMO, antibiotic-free ingredients and it is committed to sustainability.” This message, combined with a handwritten menu, apparently led people to view the restaurant as healthier, as well as more Insta-friendly.
Something as simple as a font change can have a surprising amount of power. “Many restaurants are branding or rebranding themselves as healthy, but they might not know how to do it effectively,” Stephanie Liu, lead author of the study, told HuffPost. “We wanted to help these restaurants by offering a creative marketing strategy that does not necessarily increase cost — you just need to print your menu in a different font that appears handwritten.”
The color of your food can also influence a variety of factors, from your perception of the restaurant, to your mood while eating, to how much engagement your snapshot of the dish will get on social media. A study published in the journal Management Decision found that between 62 and 90 percent of a person's assessment of a product is based on colors alone. In fact, the colors in a restaurant environment could impact you in a number of ways, the researchers found: Color choices could increase or decrease your appetite, enhance your mood, calm you down, and they can even affect your perception of how long you've been waiting to eat.
The great news for my fellow Instagram fans is that the foods that are likely to do well on the social platform are also really great for your health. If you order something rich in blues and purples, you're definitely improving your chances of getting plenty of likes on your post. The social tool Curalate analyzed 8 million photos on Instagram and found that primarily blue photos performed 24 percent better than primarily red photos, so chow down on dishes that highlight bright blue tones.
Foods with this blue and purple color scheme all have different amounts of the same pigment that makes them so beneficial: anthocyanidins, says Dr. Niket Sonpal, an internist and gastroenterologist in New York City. Blackberries, blueberries, mulberries, elderberries, black currants, acai berries, plums, prunes, figs, grapes, and eggplants all have two things in common — they're beautiful shades of blues and purples (which is great for IG), and they're rich in anthocyanidins (which are great for your body). More specifically, all of these beautiful pieces of produce can help to normalize your blood pressure and reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease and heart attack, Dr. Sonpal tells Elite Daily.
You don't have to stick to photographing the standard blue fruits and veggies like blueberries or purple cabbage, though. It could also be fun to try out blue or purple versions of foods you might not realize grow in multiple shades, suggests Kim Yawitz, a registered dietitian/nutritionist in private practice in St. Louis, Missouri. "While we typically think of them as orange, carrots and other vegetables come in shades of purple as well," she tells Elite Daily.
Besides the fact that a bluish-purplish potato or tomato has lots of flavonoids, I'm willing to bet that your Instagram followers would be much more excited to get a look at the stunning hue of the blue ear of corn you're enjoying than the yellow version that everyone's familiar with.