Web 2.0 and its effect on food industry

Yu Jiang

Class time Thursday 3-5pm

We all live in a society which is rarely without the internet. People become more reliable on Internet and their mobile phone. There is more than 90% of people are looking at their phone when they are on the bus or train. The real world and the ‘web world’ interplay in people’s life. internet era changes how people interact. The scholars use Web2.0 to conceptualise the new era. Participatory, dynamic and user-content are major characteristics of Web2.0(Hinton and Hjorth,2013). Along with the growing number of internet users, each individual has the opportunity to share opinions and thoughts on social media. The Web2.0 raises a special phenomenon, people like to take a picture before eating, posting food picture becomes mainstream. Hinton and Hjorth(2013) argue that people have become participants in Web2.0 rather than only consumers. It changes people’s eating habits and the food industry.

The concept of Web.2.0

Web2.0 is not only about personalisation and content creation, it is a new model for business as well (Hinton and Hjorth,2013). The rise of social media decentralizes structure in consumer culture. Before Web2.0, people are given information from mass media. For example, consumers watch advertising for a new restaurant. They may go to that restaurant next time. However, the story does not end here in Web.2.0. The customers are very likely to post food pictures from that restaurant and write comments about it on their social media. Their followers can see their friends’ feedback on the same restaurant. It may affect their decision to choose where to eat next time. Web 1.0 is a one-way information dissemination approach and the Web2.0 is a two-way approach. The social media brings three new features in food culture: posting food picture becomes a social norm; restaurants and cafes need to adapt a new business model which the customers really engage with the restaurant and have a big influence on the success or failure of the restaurant.

The mainstream trend

Posting food pictures on social media is known a ‘eat and tweet’ phenomenon. In 2013, there are more than 16 million food pictures uploaded on Flickr on each day(Kilgour,2014). Also, more than 32 percent of brand mentions on Twitter is about food and beverage industry(Imberg,2015). There are also many food posts on Facebook, Instagram and other social media platforms. Under the hashtag of #foodporn in Twitter in 2014, there were 90 new food pictures uploaded each minute(Kilgour,2014). A number of food pictures on social media platforms are tremendous. It is a new social trend which is brought by the Web2.0. There are several reasons for posting food pictures. Firstly, it is a major trend on social media posting. People like to share experiences on the social media. Food picture can become food advise for other people. People used to recommend food to others via talking. The food recommendation in social media is more realistic and detailed. A good food picture can capture attention from the audience, and attract people by its good food and cutlery. On the other hand, the food posting habit is a great opportunity for food and beverage industry. The customers involuntarily become a promoter for the restaurant.

Case 1: Comodo&Instagram Menu

Some business is taking advantage of people’s food picture posting habit on social media. It creates an ‘Instagram Menu’. Comodo is a Latin America restaurant in New York SOHO neighbourhood. It creates a hashtag #comodomenu on Instagram(Fitzgerald,2010). The owner of the restaurant realizes people love to take food pictures before they eat. Therefore, he creates the hashtag on Instagram and encourages his customers to post food pictures under the hashtag. The owner also prints the hashtag on the real menu. If people cannot decide what to eat, they can browse the Instagram menu. Once the customer makes a decision, they can just show the picture to the waiters. This cost-free social media campaign generates a large profit and public attention for the restaurant. It becomes a successful advertisement case by using social media. The participatory culture in Web2.0 is used by the restaurant to generate profit. It is essential for restaurant owners to effectively use social media to run the business.

Case 2: Heytea

Heytea is a beverage brand which sells tea beverage in China. It is founded two years ago but it already has attained big success. Its success is closely related to use of social media. Heytea started its business in a small town. It already has a brand awareness of local community.  This year, it opened a new store in Shanghai which is one of the largest city in China. Heytea attains a large success. People are willing to line up for two hours to get a tea beverage. It may seem as a strange behaviour, but more and more people are willing to do so. Most of the customers will post a picture on social media when they finally get the tea beverage. It creates a self-satisfaction for themselves and attracted attention from new customers. The long line up in the Heytea store becomes a unique feature. Also, the official social media account of Heytea often posts the long line up picture. The success of Heytea is created by the social media and its users. In Web 2.0, customers and restaurants interact with each other by using social media. It inadvertently forms a new type of business model for restaurant and beverage brand. Reaching customers by using social is the most effective way.


In the social media course, our group did The Con campaign. We use several social media platforms included Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat to promote the Con. In order to expand the popularity of the campaign, we organize many online activities on each platform. We have the regular post and event post on specific days, also we launch Livestream, cool music competition and the musical tutorial session on Youtube. The purpose for doing these activities is to attract attention and promote participation on the social media. The core value of Web 2.0 is about participation. We can also observe how people react on the online activities to measure how the audiences respond to the campaign. The number of user participations is an important feature to determine the success of the campaign. In the Web 2.0, it is easier to reach different types of audiences. The participant users are the second level information transmitters. They can share link on social media platforms, then the information will reach a larger amount of audiences. The Con campaign is actually using the advantage of user participation on social media. I believe that the social media is a most effective way to launch campaign and monitor the audience reaction on the product.

About the Course

The social media course covers many concepts relate to the social media. I really enjoy the example which the lecturer shows in class. Social media is everyday life for us. It provides conveniences and a new lifestyle. However, when people are more addicted in the social media, it brings problem and concern. For example, the locative feature on app and phone will threaten personal privacy and safety. The Web 2.0 concept will still be used in the future since the social media is already part of our life. The user participation on social media will create more business model in the future.


Web 2.0 dominants the business model and food industry. It makes food sharing become a social norm. Restaurants and business gradually adapt the feature of Web 2.0. The food sharing on social media platform brings benefit for the business. Customers are closely engaged with the business. They are not only the customer but also become promoters. It is a good opportunity for the food industry. They have the most effective tool to promote food with no cost. The user participation on Web2.0 is their effective tool to attract more customers.


Hinton,S.,&Hjorth,L.(2013).What is Web 2.0?Undersanding Social Media (pp.120-135).London:SAGE Publications Ltd.

Kilgour,M.(2014). Social Media and Food: Is the Relationship Healthy?Goodfood. Retrieved from: http://blog.goodfoodgiftcard.com.au/social-media-and-food-is-the-relationship-healthy/

Imberg,K.(2015).Social Media and Food: The Perfect Pair? Food Manufacturin:Rockaway.

Fitzgerald,B.(2012,October 18).Restaurants Use Instagram To Tap Into Food Porn Obsession.The Huffington Post. Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/entry/restaurants-instagram-comodo_n_1973754




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s