January 12, 2018
We are what we eat—or at least it seems that way, judging by all of the food photography on social media: Fully 50% of Americans take pictures of their food, based on findings of a poll released by YouGov on January 9.
After speaking to 2324 U.S. adults late in December, the researchers say that amateur food photographers are most likely to take a picture of food they prepare themselves (31%) than food that they eat at a special occasion such as a wedding (22%), meals they order at restaurants (20%), or food that someone they know has cooked (13%).
More than half of women (54%) take photos of their food, compared to only 46% of men. Maybe that’s because they take on more of the cooking and kitchen cleanup duties. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, women do 70% of family food preparation and cleanup, while men do 43%.
Data from the same YouGov poll suggests that food photography habits vary geographically as well. Americans living in the South (37%) and Northeast (34%) tend to take more photos of food they’ve prepared themselves than those who live in other regions.
Looking at age, given that food photography’s popularity has been inextricably tied to better smartphone technology and the rise of documenting one’s life with apps such as Instagram and Snapchat, the practice naturally draws younger food photographers.
As a generation, nearly three-quarters of Millennials (71%) say they take photos of their food, with 49% of the same age group saying that they photograph food they make themselves. Younger Millennials (ages 18-24) report that they are just as likely to take photos of food they order (39%) as they are of food at special occasions (38%).
While the practice isn’t as popular among older Americans – 68% of Americans 55 and over say they never take photos of their food – one-third of Americans (33%) between the ages of 45 and 54 say that they’ll take pictures of food they cook themselves.
Americans living in the West are the only ones to say they’re as likely to snap a photo of food they’ve ordered (27%) as something they’ve personally cooked (27%). And Americans in the Midwest are the likeliest to report that they never take pictures of their food (57%).
Finally, there are the people for whom food is not fascinating—and they represent the other 50% of the population.
Research contact: Hoang.Nguyen@YouGov.com