If you want to relish food, just hit the photo-sharing website Instagram and browse through the images posted by people of various cuisines and you will begin licking your fingers like never before.
According to the researchers from the University of San Diego in California and Saint Joseph's University, people who have seen photos of dishes on Instagram perceive the food to be tastier than those who did not scan such images.
In an experiment involving over 120 participants, the team told them to enjoy a mouth-watering red velvet cake and asked them to either click a photo first and post in on Instagram before gulping it down or just eat it immediately, New York Magazine reported.
The findings showed that those who clicked a photo of the red velvet cake perceived it to be tastier than those who just consumed it.
According to Sean Coary from Saint Joseph's University in Philadelphia and Morgan Poor from the University of San Diego in California, no difference was noted for the healthier food like fruit salad as its taste remained unchanged both for those who posted its image of Instagram and those who did not.
The results, published in the Journal of Consumer Marketing, showed that only foods deemed as indulgent will have that perceived taste effect and not the healthy diets.
"It provides insight into the effects of consumers taking pictures of their food before consumption, a growing trend on social media sites (Instagram). Marketing managers can develop strategies to encourage their consumers to take pictures of their food," the authors noted.
This is the first research to demonstrate the effects of consumer-generated images on a product consumption experience and identify the conditions and process under which these effects occur.
According to media reports, there are more than 178 million photos tagged #food on Instagram and 56 million tagged #foodporn.