Style has become a part and parcel of life, creeping its way into some of the most unexpected parts of our life. It was in my quest to define the style, that I came across the concept of ‘Food styling’.
There was a time when style was considered the epicentre of fashion. It’s unbelievable how the food industry has transformed itself through this simple concept. By modifying and bringing innovations in the packaging of the dish, restaurants tried to enhance the experience of the customer. Visual appearance, therefore, started gaining significance in the industry. Businesses used food styling to highlight their brand personality. For example, Certain restaurants whose expertise lies in desserts started packaging it in an exotic manner that would bring in a certain sense of excitement among the customers to visit the restaurant for the particular dish.
They enticed the audience with the idea that a particular food generates a specific lifestyle, thereby bringing a feeling of desire in the minds of consumers. As tourism developed and cuisines started playing a central role in the life of a tourist, it became a significant investment for me. As the food and beverage industry grew, and wider horizons emerged, businesses set foot into enticing the consumers with newer methods. This resulted in the prominence of food styling.
By modifying and bringing innovations in the packaging of the dish, restaurants tried to enhance the experience of the customer. Visual appearance, therefore, started gaining significance in the industry. Businesses used food styling to highlight their brand personality. For example, certain restaurants whose expertise lies in desserts started packaging them in an attractive manner; one that would bring a sense of excitement among customers, which – they hoped – would be enough to bring them through the door again.
Amid all of this, a different facet of food styling has been making the news. It is said that businesses spend copious amounts of money styling their dishes specifically for photographs.
The entire exercise is said to be a 2 to 3-day affair where a great amount of food gets cooked until it gets the perfect colour and thickness for the photograph. The food giant Mcdonald’s brought in professional food stylists to promote its new item, the Cookie. Food stylists who worked on the same say that the cookie was baked for days till it obtained the right texture for its attractive and enticing visual appeal. On the other hand, it is also said that the food used in this process is not real or edible. For example, a turkey that is shown in a banner is stuffed with an enormous amount of tissue to make it look fluffy and the thick milk falling off the glass container may be white paint to make it look more enticing.
One of the most important principles that are followed when it comes to food styling has been that the food has to look fresh. Interesting details by food stylists across the world give us shocking insights into the beautiful food photographs we come across. They say that plates used for the same are cleaned with glass cleaner so that fingerprints are not visible in the photographs. In order to make the salad look fresh, glycerin is used to showcase dewdrops on the ingredients. Similarly, a wax coating is used for cold items to the extent that cigarette smoke is used to showcase the effect of smoke coming out of the food. This is further perfected using imaging technology where technicians edit these images to change the overall look of the image.
As food styling takes the industry to new highs with influencers and bloggers, it brings us to a fearful reality which underlines that all that glitters is not gold. Nevertheless, as marketing transcends its boundaries, we cannot underestimate the worthiness of food that tastes like paradise even if it looks unattractive.