Ruining food selfies.

I didn’t know it was a thing, but the internet once again surprised me with a little gem: the guy in this video crushes the food of his friends in front of them, leaving nothing to show for a ‘true foodies’, as these people seemingly aspire to be.

Today, I spoke pitched to a CEO of a large restaurant chain, and he told me an animating story about his daughter (19 years old), who considers herself a foodie and takes pictures of every instagram-worthy meal she comes across. Her little 17-year old brother likes to tease his big sis by taking a fork and messing up the plate as much as he can, after which complete chaos and mayhem ensues.

She doesn’t care about the place it is being served, not restaurant brand, not the country or city she is in. She only cares about making a perfect picture of her meal. That’s her one and only goal, to accumulate likes, respect and applause from her instagram followers and jealous friends.

Loyalty and self-expression

Why is this interesting? Because she expresses herself through the experience she’s engaged in (in this case, getting served a fresh plate of a delicious looking meal), but not through the ‘traditional’ brand itself. A while ago, I wrote about loyalty and how Maslow’s pyramid’s can be used as base for a ‘loyalty pyramid’, in which ‘self-expression’ is the highest attainable level. In this level, people use the brand as a vehicle to express their beliefs and feelings to the world (e.g. a Harley Davidson tattoo, an Apple bumper sticker, an Ajax football shirt).

However, the people in our video use the actual food as a way to express their identity. Not the brand. A very interesting counter movement that is most notable among Generation Z (and younger people). Loyalty, as such, is not defined by recurring restaurant visits to the same place, but by getting served tasty looking plates – regardless of brand, location, price and all other traditional product-success factors.

Companies need to understand these specific micro-interactions, so that they can cater and support these folks in expressing their identity through food. They are truly the ‘moments that matter’, and everybody can see what happens when you ruin those moments: complete and utter mayhem, frankly.