THE CROFT // Food content is unavoidably prominent throughout today's social media scape - whether capitalising on aesthetic food, aesthetic people, or definitively un-aesthetic shock value, creators know how to draw you in. Dani Weiss looks at the various angles and effects that dominate FoodTok.
Social media has been hit by a storm of food content creators, all eagerly trying to get you to cook what they have to offer, and engage with their page. Their aim is to keep you coming back – so it’s got to look good, right?
What they’re selling has to be attractive - whether that be the food, or the person making it. Content creators know this, and they have great formulas for drawing you in. Some go for a more traditional method, like @emilymariko, who somehow makes buttered toast look like a Michelin star entrée. Others get you by being attractive themselves, like @itsqcp, who cooks shirtless. And then there's the ones who draw you in with the shock horror of food atrocities, like @joshandmamma, a son posting his mother’s questionable dinners.
These less conventional methods of drawing in viewers are particularly interesting. Whilst the majority of content creators offer pristine clean kitchens and perfect produce like Emily Mariko – who went viral for her now-iconic salmon bowl – there is also a bizarre fraction who seem to make their food look as outrageous as possible in an effort to hook you on their content.
Maybe they're just looking for views and shock factor, or maybe creators really do enjoy eating and making these things; personally, I find the latter hard to believe. Regardless, what is undeniable is that once you enter the food realm on TikTok (or Instagram, if you’re a reels user like me), it becomes hard to escape.
With the shocking crazes, you're left with the eager anticipation of the unexpected. With the more traditionally respectable meals, you're left in a never-ending stream of scrolling and salivating at the tantalising recipes that are presented to you, from MOB kitchen's messy but rustic style of ‘proper’ food, to the man who makes fresh food from his greenhouse. There is ALWAYS something new that we are inspired, encouraged, and enticed to make.
I myself have fallen victim to a few (not all) of the crazes, and whilst some are seriously worth the hype, and have in turn become a staple in my repertoire (like the aforementioned salmon bowl), many I will never be trying again.
One content creator who I cannot get on board with, for instance, is @elburritomonster; the food he makes in his garden looks great, until he mentions the wrap. He minces all the food and ‘slaps’ it and gets it ‘wrapped up’. Whilst I am sure his wraps appeal to some, they are not for me, and I think he is a part of the group who lure you in through the shock factor of their food. His account provides a perfect example of how sometimes, it's not always easy to see exactly which of these angles content-creators are taking.
What I do enjoy is @imtanaradoublechocolate‘s reviews with the defining line of ‘everybody is so creative’. Ultimately, she's right - the food reel/TikTok realm is filled with incredibly creative individuals who make unbelievable (whether good or bad) looking dishes from their homes. Whether they sell you what they are making through the food itself, or through themselves as attractive characters, the content creators know how to draw you in, and keep you coming back for seconds.