I simply love food. For me, my love of food isn’t just about eating, going to new restaurants, or cooking an exciting meal. It’s also about getting to explore new cultures, being creative, and reflecting that on my Instagram.
So reports that the “Instagram generation” were being blamed for fueling the UK’s food problem really disappointed me.
It struck me as unfair to categorize millennials in this way as so many of the UK’s most prominent food bloggers are actively using their platform to minimize food waste.
Blaming Instagram is a bit of a stretch
The basis for one of these reports about millennial food wasters was a study by Sainsbury’s.
It surveyed a sample of 5,000 people on attitudes towards food, waste, and finances and found that millennials have a “live to eat” attitude and tend to have a greater desire to explore new food trends.
“While this desire for exciting foods might benefit the palate, as well as look great on our Instagram feed,” the study said,”it’s also creating a significant amount of waste as people purchase exotic and unusual ingredients without knowing how to use them up.”
This was the only reference to Instagram in the entire study. One sentence.
The “Instagram generation” has something to say
Cate Bell, a food blogger from Brighton, actively encourages her followers to use leftovers. She takes the issue of food waste very seriously.
“Nothing is ever wasted because I love food. Why would I want to waste it?” says Bell, who shares recipes and photographs on her blog, Cate in the Kitchen.
“It makes me kind of angry to hear [articles blaming millennials] because I think quite the opposite. I feel personally that our generation is the most concerned about environmental issues.”
Niamh Shields, who runs the blog Eat Like A Girl, uses her platform to teach her followers how to make the most out of their ingredients, especially their leftovers.
“A lot of my Instagram is using leftovers. It’s not in any campaigning kind of way,” says Shields. “I always keep my leftovers. They are really delicious and I always share what to do with them.”
“I get a lot of feedback from people who didn’t know they could creatively use them.”
Food blogger and author Rachel Phipps also agrees that it isn’t helpful to target millennials, but she acknowledges that the Sainsbury’s study raises a valid point.
“I agree with a lot of what they said about more food waste and how my generation needs to learn planning ahead,” says Phipps, who’s recently wrote the book ‘Student Eats’ which teaches students how to create good meals on a budget.
“There’s actually some really good points about food waste that really need to be addressed about food education within the data,” she says.
Millennials are part of the solution
While there may be some Instagram cooks throwing out unused leftovers, it has become apparent to me is that Instagram and food blogs can actually be part of the solution.
Many people don’t know where to get information on how to minimize food waste. This presents an opportunity for food bloggers, who are already leading by example, as evidenced above.
Instead of demonizing millennials and social media, perhaps we should embrace the power of the platforms and the bloggers to positively influence the “Instagram generation.”