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Instafood - how social sites are changing the way we eat

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In the same way that it’s no longer cool to eat a plain old bag of salt and vinegar crisps (they have to be Cornish sea salt and balsamic vinegar, don’t you know), the colour of your food is now up for critique too.

Driven by social sites like Instagram, where users regularly post pics of what they’re eating, food is fast becoming an art. It’s now commonplace for people to force their dining companions to eat semi-cold meals, as they make them wait while they get the ‘perfect shot’. Just search #foodporn for salivation-inducing shots.

One of the most recent Instagram trends has been for coloured food – most notably, black food. This has led social-media savvy outlets, such as Waitrose, to start selling food containing charcoal on their shelves. The Waitrose One antipasti pizza with sourdough charcoal base was launched earlier this year, shortly after the success of Heston’s salmon and cream cheese charcoal bagel.

Purple has also been a big hit with insta-fans this year – think purple cauliflower, asparagus, corn and sweet potatoes. And don’t forget purple ice cream, made from the Filipino ube (purple yam).

Now the world’s largest cocoa processor has decided to capitalise on our love of coloured food with an entirely new kind of chocolate. Barry Callebaut came across ruby cocoa beans, and through a sophisticated process has managed to turn them into chocolate.

The company has spent the last 13 years perfecting ‘ruby’ chocolate, but initially didn’t think there was much of a market for it. However, due to its obvious Instagram appeal, it has now decided to produce and market the naturally pink chocolate worldwide.

The rise in the popularity of veganism has also driven the new colourful movement, as Instagrammers post multi-hued photos of elaborate plant-based creations. Anything containing ripe green avocado is a particular favourite.

According to the Guardian, the amount of vegans in the UK has risen by 350% in the last decade, and this is mainly driven by the young. And who can blame them when Instagram accounts such as avantgardevegan make the food look so incredible.

So with black bread, purple vegetables and ruby chocolate becoming mainstream, could the next big trend be for a new, more powerful, type of whitening toothpaste?