Social media is helping to grow food trends and innovation in the food and beverage industry
A glance around any coffee shop or restaurant will confirm that a majority of consumers fit the always-on, socially connected profile. Europe's top foodies and chefs are also online, and on Instagram, showing off their latest creations and, increasingly, igniting food trends as they post photogenic, “Instagrammable”, meals, drinks and products.
Because Instagram has proven a useful tool for collecting insights and inspiring innovation in the food and beverage space, we recently featured a list of Latin American foodies to follow. Here, we’ve curated a European edition, gathering a list of 12 of Europe's top foodies, influencers, chefs, restaurants and brands that are helping to spread emerging food trends and turn them into mainstream movements.
Follow these accounts to see the food trends and food photography styles that currently resonate with consumers in Europe. Then use their feeds as a springboard for your own ideas, whether you’re working on developing a new product or finding a new way to promote your brand.
The feed of Sweden-based cookbook author and photographer Linda Lomelino evokes a real “back-to-the-land” feel, with images of seasonal produce and fresh-from-the-oven baked goods. A floral theme carries through the posts, with many showing the power of the colour of food in attracting interest. Whether you’re in the dessert business or not, her artfully styled images provide inspiration for anyone charged with making food look not only appealing, but aspirational.
The Instagram account Eater’s Manifesto began as a way of capturing the well-crafted and curated meals of a London-based home cook. The feed now also includes an occasional look at sumptuous dinners out, such as at Michelin-starred restaurants. Together, the images offer up a glimpse of some of the most carefully plated haute cuisine around, and some include preparation notes, such as sous vide instructions for venison or the directive to “torch” a piece a mackerel.
Sonae, one of Portugal’s leading retailers, partnered with Go Well, an operator of health-oriented restaurants, to open a new health-oriented concept chain, Go Natural. The Go Natural concept originally began as a foodservice outlet in Sonae retail locations, but has since turned into a standalone concept, featuring items such as soups, salads, sushi and a variety of breakfast items. Offerings are made with natural ingredients and are labelled to indicate suitability for consumers with specific dietary needs. This concept shows an inspiring way to scale fresh, clean label and free-from foods and meals.
“Filthy vegan” is a growing trend, and Biff’s Jack Shack exemplifies it. Self-described as serving up the most indulgent vegan junk food in London, Biff’s offers vegan consumers a chance to indulge without any compromise. The restaurant’s pictures of crispy fried jackfruit burgers and wings show just how much plant proteins have evolved, and that vegan and vegetarian lifestyles have plenty of room for experimentation and fun. Following a path taken by many new hot spots, Biff’s began serving around London markets before opening its first permanent location, in Shoreditch.
If you’ve ever wondered how to make your food business more interactive, FICO Eataly World has the feed to follow. The massive complex, which refers to itself as "more farm than theme park", opened in late 2017 near Bologna, Italy. It’s a stellar example of the food industries’ effort to increase transparency and embrace a more back-to-basics approach. Instagram images show off the 24 acres of farms, factories, classrooms, restaurants and markets, a concept that was designed to help visitors better understand how the foods they love end up on their plates.
@littlemoonsmochi and @wacafelondon
Although unrelated, these two feeds exemplify the emergence of Asian-inspired desserts around Europe. Little Moons is one of the UK’s leading purveyors of the staple Japanese sweet mochi, or rice balls filled with sweets—in this case ice cream. The brand often incorporates on-trend ingredients, such as green tea and coconut. (Packaged Little Moons mochis are available in some freezer sections as well as in a pop-up at Selfridges' food hall.) WA Café, a brick-and-mortar Japanese patisserie, bakery and café in London, takes more of an "east meets west" approach with its offerings, which may include matcha croissants, Japanese-style toast with sweet black sesame paste or pastries with cherry blossom petals. The cafes two locations feature staple favourites as well as inspired and often seasonal limited time offers.
The brick and mortar Fat Fox Café, in Dublin, is on a temporary hiatus while moving to a new location, but it's still serving up plenty of tempting images of breakfast, lunch and dessert via Instagram. The food is colourful and delicious with many offerings serving up the “loaded everything" trend; combined, these traits help the restaurant cultivate a quirky and authentic presence in person and online. Another trait loved by visitors and followers of the feed: the café serves locally-sourced products and organic Irish ingredients whenever possible, both of which are in line with the clean label trend.
Food blogger Amelie Vincent, aka “The Foodalist” reviews restaurants in her hometown of Brussels and also around the world, including Paris, Barcelona, Singapore and more. Her Instagram feed features pictures of her travels, including dining with well-known chefs over masterfully cooked meals. Although her feed doesn’t necessarily serve up recommendations or spell out trends, it does provide a bird’s eye view of both well-known and emerging chefs and restaurants, many of which have Instagram feeds of their own worth following.
Yes, sourdough-crust pizzas are all the rage in London right now, and you won’t find that at Pizza Pilgrims. But you will find simple Neopolitan pizza and a compelling backstory about two brothers who ventured through Italy to learn how to make pizza, brought the concept back to London, and now have nearly a dozen brick and mortar restaurants. Their pizza is in keeping with today’s trend toward simple Italian flavour including using fresh dough and minimal ingredients. A majority of their posts give a behind-the-scenes look in the kitchens, which helps build an authentic brand connection.
The Instagram feed of Eat Chay gives a good view into London’s street food scene. (The first brick and mortar shop just opened, but they’re still serving up their signature vegan bahn mi sandwiches, bibimbap bowls and Vietnamese iced coffees at local markets.) Describing the concept as “vegan Vietnamese fusion” and “vegan Asian munch”, Eat Chay stands out for its ability to make delicious vegan dishes using recipes that are traditionally meat-based. There are sauces galore, plus lots of different flavours hailing from fresh, marinated, sautéed and pickled ingredients.
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The two chefs behind Pinch of Nom provide a host of options to home cooks interested in weight loss, from a traditional cookbook to online meal plans and recipes. Their popular Instagram account promotes all of these, delivering up posts that link back to articles on their website, such as recipes for healthy or guides devoted to “slimming essentials”, which note healthy foods to buy. The brand caters to consumers with weight loss goals, however the tone is more “healthy lifestyle” than “calorie counting”, which is in line with many of today’s most popular diets, such as keto.
For more inspiration from around the globe, follow our chef-curated Instagram handle, @WeAreKerry. To partner with Kerry on creating great-tasting products that are also memorable and eye-catching, contact us.