Food obsession

Currently, there is an obsession with taking photos of food and sharing these photos online, mostly through Instagram. It has gotten more and more prevalent in recent years: some people buy cameras just for this purpose, and some people have even taken it so far in that it has become their main source of income (http://eye-swoon.com/).

Some restaurants have also started to catch up on this trend, and created a system which rewarded people for taking photos of their food, and sharing those photos. But some restaurants have also gone against this trend, in which they banned customers from taking photos of their food. Bouley, in NYC, has set up a different system for customers to get their photos:

“This whole system here will be set up very soon, so we can shoot their food and have it delivered to them before they leave; before they pay their check,” Bouley said.

This trend has been booming exponentially, especially in Asia, in which it has become a lifestyle for many people. Some restaurants/bars/cafes now cater to these people, by coming up with weird/interesting themes for their food:

Flask Icecream Parlour in South Korea
The Clinic Bar in Singapore
Drink cart at Art Box in Bangkok

It is extremely prevelant in South Korea, in that there are people who livestream themselves eating online, in these shows called “mokbang”. These people can get paid up to $9300 a month, from her viewers and fans sending her ‘balloons’ online.

This trend has been used for many things — advertisement of brands/restaurants, TV shows (e.g. Let’s Eat — Korean drama), and there has even been a mobile app created for philanthropic purposes. This app is called “Feedie”, it is used in collaboration with restaurants, in that they would receive donations every time a customer takes photos of food at a Feedie-partnered restaurant and share it on social media. These donations go to The Lunchbox Fund, and are used towards feeding the children in South Africa (http://www.wethefeedies.com/).

MY PREDICTIONS OF THE FUTURE

  • Restaurants cater to this obsession: have props to help people take better photos of their food (cropping Ls, garnish, different napkins/towels, beautiful cutlery, lights, reflector etc.)
  • Restaurants are created for dining alone: 1 seat inside a booth facing a screen with someone else eating on the other side. → friends from across the world can ‘go out’ to restaurants together. Or these are restaurants made for people to eat with mokbang stars? Watching these stars eat normal/junk food while they eat soylent-like foods?
  • Powdered and ‘convenient’ foods (like Soylent) replaces most real food, but people are still instagramming / livestreaming themselves eating these foods (?)
  • Conventional restaurants become obsolete?
  • There are machines that you can put in your favourite dishes, and it spits out ‘bar’ versions of those foods? (for convenience, ease in carrying around, faster to eat for the multitasking-obsessed millenials)
  • Or do hospitals become a place for people to get their ‘prescription’ of food? Something like an IV drip that people can hook onto themselves at night, so they get the amount of nutrients they need for the day while sleeping — no need for eating during the day. → “food celebrities” just eat for their job, off camera, they also take the IV drip(?)
  • Other products like digestion pills, remove-hunger pill etc created to support this lifestyle. The “stomach tap” becomes a normal thing for mokbang filmers to use?

SIDE EFFECTS

  • Food activists?
  • Will effect a lot of big food suppliers
  • More factories built to create these powdered/bar foods
  • Less energy used, since people stop cooking?

SIDE SHOWS

  • Food as a chore: soylent
  • Health craze: raw foods, clean eating
  • Food tourism
  • Multitasking trend

ROLE OF THE DESIGNER

  • Designers as photography trainers? Or does this affect designers because everyone now thinks that they are a designer, since they do photography?
  • Urban design — designers hired to create the optimum experience within ‘eating spaces’. Designed for the best photos to be taken (a lot of natural light..etc)

Other ideas: