Snapping Instagram Photos of Food May Actually Help Things Taste Better


Annoyed at people who have a habit of snapping a quick food photo before every meal? There might be a scientific explanation for why some of them do so: scientists have found that that rituals such as snapping a quick food pic may actually help make eating more pleasurable for the eater.

This fact comes from a paper titled “Rituals Enhance Consumption,” published on July 17, 2013 in the journal Psychological Science. In it, professor Kathleen Vohs of the University of Minnesota reports that little rituals help make food more enjoyable — rituals such as singing “Happy Birthday,” saying a prayer, splitting an Oreo cookie in half, or snapping a photograph.

8295863069_19ae40e5eb_zThe study involved having two groups of participants who were given chocolate bars to eat. One group was instructed to perform a specific ritual of breaking, unwrapping, and eating the bars, while the other group was just unleashed on the bars. What the scientists found was that the minor ritual led to higher reported levels of enjoyment, flavor, and value.

The researchers (there were three on this study) say that these rituals increase the eater’s interest and involvement in the process of eating, which in turn leads to higher levels of pleasure.

Oh, and the eater needs to be the one performing the ritual for the boost to occur, so simply watching your friend snap an Instagram shot won’t cut it.

(via TIME and UPROXX)

Image credits: Instagrammer by Blyzz, Grub up! :) #food #instagram #iphoneography by Podknox

  • Bristol

    Please, don’t encourage them.

  • julian

    i don’t see why they need to be discouraged, it’s perfectly harmless

  • Scott

    Beard, check!
    Wool cap, check!
    Taking phone photo of food, check!

    Hipster transformation complete…

  • Adam Cross

    “Annoyed at people who have..” no, not really. it’s absolutely harmless – I don’t understand why people have any problem with it

  • Adam Cross

    ugh, yawn. move on.

  • ripley

    Because half of my Facebook newsfeed is pictures of people’s lunch, dinner, drinks, faces (selfies, that is, along with statuses saying how pretty they are), cafe scenes, and views from windows. But it’s mostly food. There’s even people who snap a photo of a bar of chocolate with a status saying “omg, yum”. There was one person who took a photo of a box of cold medicine when they were sick saying “ermahgerd i’m sick again”. OK, that’s OK if you’re sick, OK if you want to tell everyone, but why, for the love of glob, do you need to upload a pixelated, blurry poorly lit photo of a box of medicine? Whhhyyyy???


  • ripley

    I am a hipster and I take offense at this stereotype.

  • German Rodriguez


  • Graf Almassy

    Snap a photo of your naked partner and you will have better sex. Am I right?

  • Simon wardenier

    It makes sense, ritual behaviour can enhance the affinity one feels for an action. If even the type of plate, glass or the brand determines how the consumer experiences the taste and quality of the food, it’s quite logical that instagramming it could enhance its value as well.
    PS: Also, my food tastes better than yours.

  • jerry

    Do people really admit that?

  • lokinou

    I would like to see the article “praying before eating may make food better”, “smoking a cigarette before eating may make the food better than after”, “Cutting chopsticks with a knife from raw wood may make your meal more enjoyable”. “Sacrifying a chicken before each meal may make your meal bloody hell good yeah”

    please © 2013 INSTAGRAM give me money for ad

  • lokinou

    Better than friends talking one sided political points of view

  • Julio Marquez

    They are YOUR friends, You decided to accept/add them so you are partly responsible.

  • Julio Marquez

    Because this is a photography blog.

  • nope

    More pleasurable for the eater, boring as all hell for everyone else.

  • Scott


    Can I ask how people wear wool caps in the summer? I’m in Canada and I wear one in the fall/winter but have no idea how people wear them at warmer times of the year or in warm climates? I’d be WAY too warm?

  • Scott

    Has anyone else ever noticed the correlation between people that snap pics of food or sharing recipes complete with orgasm sounds in the post and being overweight? ;)

  • Dikaiosune01

    I’m interpreting this as… Taking photos of food had become so prevelant in today’s society and culture, that the absence of taking such photographs robs the eater from enjoying their food to the fullest.

    Personally, the reason I disprove of this photography is because I know how much hard work food photographers put into food pictures; most of the time rendering the food unedible. Multiple lights, paint liquids to mimic ice cream, glycerin, etc. the bottom line for me is if I’m going to try to do this food photography thing, I would do it right. With the right lights, modifiers and props.