A huge number of Instagram posts are related to food, and since trends on the popular social media site are believed to reflect or even dictate consumer behavior, more businesses in the restaurant and food industry are paying more attention to the kinds of food Instagram users are sharing with their followers and the rest of the world.
For instance, to learn the top cuisines on Instagram in the past 12 months, food magazine Chef’s Pencil ranked international cuisines according to the number of tagged foods on the social networking service. And the results of the ranking revealed that Italian cuisine is the most popular food on Instagram in 2021, with over 3.8 million tags from February 2021 to February 2022. It is closely followed by Indian cuisine in second place and Japanese cuisine in the third spot.
According to Chef’s Pencil, Millennials and Zoomers, who make up the bulk of Instagram’s user population, continue to favor comfort foods above everything else in the second year of the COVID-19 pandemic. And since Italian cuisine is considered by many as the ultimate comfort food, with pizza and pasta being among the top 5 most liked foods worldwide, it’s not surprising to see Italian cuisine topped the ranking.
Another apparent reason why Instagram users love sharing photos of Italian food on Instagram is the cuisine’s visually pleasing aesthetic. Italian food often features popping reds and greens – colors that are easier to enhance using Instagram filters.
Meanwhile, Indian cuisine, which garnered over 3.3 million related hashtags on Instagram in the past 12 months, is believed to have become more popular in the last year partly because of its easy availability. Thanks to the huge Indian diaspora, there are Indian restaurants in almost every corner of the world. Furthermore, the fact that India has the highest number of Instagram users across the globe also helped the cuisine get more spotlight on the online platform.
While Italian and Indian cuisines were the top 2 most popular food on Instagram over the past 12 months, Japanese cuisine still has the highest all-time number of tagged posts on the social media site. As of February 2022, hashtags related to Japanese food appeared in more than 18 million Instagram posts. Japanese cuisine also appeared in more than 3 million Instagram posts over the past year, so its popularity keeps growing despite being outranked by Italian and Indian cuisines in 2021.
Japanese cuisine is popular on Instagram simply because the visual aspect of Japanese food is just as important as the taste. Long before Instagram even existed, Japanese people have been particular with the use of shapes, colors, textures, decorations, and plating techniques in their food, supporting the notion that people in Japan tend to “eat with their eyes first.”
Rounding out the top 10 cuisines on Instagram in 2021 is food from Korea, Mexico, China, Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, and Greece.
Chef’s Pencil also released a ranking of the top 10 cuisines with the highest growth rate on Instagram over the past 12 months. Indian cuisine nabbed the number one spot with a 41% increase in tags, followed by Jamaican, Nigerian, Lebanese, and Turkish cuisines. You can check out the complete ranking in the image below:
And in case you’re wondering, you can also check out the all-time top cuisines on Instagram in the graphic art below: