Shaping Food Consumption on Instagram Among 18-34 Young Adults

Monday, 16 July 2018: 18:15
Oral Presentation
Monique CARON BOUCHARD, UQAM (Université du Québec), Canada
Shaping food consumption on Instagram among 18-34 young adults


Instagram is one of the social applications most used by millennials to broadcast photos, short videos, comments and appreciations on a variety of topics. Food is one of the most popular hashtag use on Instagram. Our paper explores the axes of producing and disseminating of Instagram posts related to the topic of food.

The norm of food consumption is transmitted by family tradition and, among others, by the media and their social environment. What are the standards related to food consumption, throughout the Instagram network? What norms are shaped by young adults to affirm their food choices (products, behavior, staging)? What are the components related to eating behavior, what diet is privileged? The corpus consists of 500 photos published on Instagram by young adults. These were collected in 2015-2017. The sample was drawn from "#hashtags" evoking consumption of food products. Institutional and corporate Instagramers and other professionals are excluded from this research. The sample is derived from the following variables: gender, social grouping, context and geographic locations.

Our findings reveal that on the Instagram platform, food consumption comes in a variety of contexts and forms: festive meal, celebration of an important life event, social meeting (with family, with acquaintances, friends, co-workers, etc.). It is adorned with a cultural expression of identity, conveying modal standards of an adopted lifestyle. Normative diet trends favored by young adults illustrate both healthy and non-healthy food. We analyse the argument sustaining the content of pictures on Instagram, the food, the attributes of presentation, different contextual factors and their attributes. We discuss how Instagram is a new locus of intersection of food consumption engaged by the millennials and its potential for on-line health promotion.