“In addition to eating with our eyes, we seem to be eating with our iPhones,” she said, citing several Instagram-friendly menu items featuring hints of glitz and glamour. Buffalo Wild Wings, for example, invited customers for a limited time to “bling my wings” by adding a dash of edible gold glitter. Starbucks’ recently released Crystal Ball Frappuccino that included a sparkly candy topping.
Enticing presentations may offer cues of comfort or coziness or may appear dark and dramatic — what many refer to as the “goth” food trend. The popularity of charred foods and the purported healthfulness of activated charcoal are among factors spurring interest in black-tinted hamburger buns, ice cream cones and cocktails, Kruse said. The charcoal latte is an emerging trend that already has made a splash in international markets.
A countertrend is what has been referred to as “ugly delicious,” led by young chefs who argue good food doesn’t have to look pretty.
“There’s a groundswell of support for what is being called ‘brown foods,’” Kruse said. “Soups, stews ... foods that aren’t necessarily these extraordinarily Instagram-able plate constructs, but just look good, homey, stick-to-your-ribs.”