Your annoying friend who obsessively snaps photos of all their meals may actually be doing themselves a favor, according to new research.
A study published in the Journal of Consumer Marketing found that the act of taking a picture of food before eating it makes it taste better because of delayed gratification.
The researchers from UC San Diego and St. Joseph’s University conducted three experiments with 120 undergraduate student participants in each to see what effect the “delayed consumption and increased savoring” resulting from photo-taking had on the perceived taste of meals.
Interestingly, while they found that the perceived tastiness of “indulgent” foods, like caramel apples or hamburgers, increase with picture-taking before it is eaten, photographing healthy foods, like kale smoothies or plain oatmeal, before eating them does not have the same effect unless the individual is aware of others eating healthy. Looking at other people’s pictures of healthy food does the trick.
The researchers said future research should focus on how consumers’ photographs might influence other consumers.
“Likewise, an interesting avenue for future research would be to examine how images posted by a company versus a fellow consumer differentially influence viewers’ attitudes and purchase intent,” the researchers wrote.