Blog : Food

Filling our feeds with food

Filling our feeds with food

Picture this: I’m meeting some friends for brunch on a typical Sunday morning. I order an acai smoothie bowl and a matcha latte.

What happens when the waitress brings across our order? My hand reaches for my iPhone, opens Instagram and I’m being absorbed into my online journal, also known as my Instagram Story. After a quick edit and a location tag – because no one has time to be elusive these days – I admire my perfectly filtered photograph starring the components of my brunch on an oh-so-edgy tarnished wooden table. A second later it is posted for the whole world to see.

What actually is the purpose of this post? Who knows and really, who cares. But who needs to care? It’ll be gone within 24 hours anyway.

Since 2010, 208 million posts have been shared on Instagram with the ‘food’ hashtag. The majority of these are nothing more than a fairly standard plate of food which has been greatly improved by some good lighting and careful editing.

The current mentality seems to be that if it’s not posted on Instagram, it didn’t happen.

On the other hand, the app that went live in 2010, provides a platform for restaurant brands to engage and adjust to the growth of social media and its consumers. With its 600 million active users, Instagram has become a drawing board for foodies, creating a bible for potential food and drink hotspots with the addition of the location sticker. If clicked on by the consumer, this could earn more revenue for the brand and provide the user with the ability to see live events from a chosen location.

What makes Instagram unique is that it has the ability to hold more worthy photographs in comparison to an average foodie website. This is because of you, the user and consumer. People love food photography because people simply love to look at food, and if there is a personality behind the visual, it immediately becomes more relatable. Due to increased popularity of international food culture, more users are willing to try different cuisines than ever before, as they have previously ‘seen it on Instagram’ and therefore, it is familiar.

Standing on your chair to capture the aerial view of your food and drinks is something I must admit is out with my boundaries. However, if you think that your meal is worthy of an Instagram upload, then surely that’s hats off to the chef! I’m not saying that my acai smoothie bowl was remotely average, I mean, it still made it to the gram. However, I am greatly aware of the danger of total addiction to an edited and, to an extent, false view of the world, which makes reality look boring in comparison.

Equally, the popularity of Instagram has certainly had some negative impacts. It has created a competitive marketplace for restaurants, as they now have to adapt to being ‘Instagrammable’ by featuring tables, chairs, cutlery, dishes and other interior that simply are photographs waiting to happen. The pressure behind the app can also force brands into creating new recipes for the sole purpose of becoming a strong Instagram trend, which means the app is costing restaurants extra money as they are giving into the 21st century #foodporn craze.

Whether you choose to believe it or not, Instagram is addictive. The aspiration to achieve some social gratification from a post that features last night’s dinner leaves you on a cliff hanger as you wait patiently for those likes and views to rake up. But what this vulnerability can also question is: does the food we photograph actually taste as good as it looks, or is it all just an irrelevant false illusion?

The answer comes down to a matter of opinion, but one thing is for certain – Instagram is fed by our love of food.

Creating an ‘offal’ stir: Burns Night with Macsween

Creating an ‘offal’ stir: Burns Night with Macsween

I’ve spent the last three months in a haggis whirlwind. Tasting, researching, delivering, analysing, pitching, writing, and even dreaming about the iconic food stuff made famous by the 18th century Scottish poet. This is what happens when you’re working with Macsween, pioneers of Scotland’s national dish, in the run up to one of the most important periods in their retail calendar, Burns Night on 25th January.

In the fickle and fast paced world of product communications, creating a strong seasonal story is more competitive than ever as brands vie for the same space and media attention. As communications consultants, it’s our job to get underneath the skin of the brand (or haggis in this case) to understand our clients’ objectives and how these translate into stories to reach the right target audiences at the right time. It isn’t enough any more to be the market leader and have a good quality product – to make headlines, you have to have a strong narrative to back it up and get people talking.

The brief for this project was straightforward – how were we going to make a splash around Burns Night, own and ‘premiumise’ the occasion and ultimately help sales to soar?

Our solution – launch the world’s most expensive haggis to highlight Macsween’s commitment to creating only the most delicious, hand-crafted products.

As you can probably imagine, launching a one-off gastronomic masterpiece such as this doesn’t happen overnight. It requires weeks of planning and working closely with the marketing and product development teams client-side to build something worthy of a story; no small feat. In the end, the talented and imaginative team at Macsween concocted a real culinary showstopper – a 3.7kg haggis consisting of Highland Wagyu beef, white summer truffle and edible gold leaf with a £4,000 price tag.


Macsween Haggis Coverage


Once the product was in place, it was then a matter of developing simple yet effective supporting assets to bring it to life across multiple channels. Like all seasonal stories, timing was key. With January 25th falling on a Monday this year, we needed the story to land before the weekend, targeting shoppers and putting Macsween top of mind for Burns revellers.

The luxury haggis has made headlines across the world, reaching as far as the US, demonstrating that even within the competitive and complicated landscape of brand communications, simple stories are still relevant and can sometimes create the most impact. The power of haggis should never be underestimated.

Stockbridge Residents Get Set for Fresh Scottish Scran

Stockbridge Residents Get Set for Fresh Scottish Scran

The management team behind Michelin star establishments The Kitchin and Castle Terrace Restaurant will reveal a brand new pub in Stockbridge this Spring. The venue will open in the former San Marco Restaurant on Mary’s Place on Comely Bank Road and will see one family run business take the reins from another.

The pub is set to compliment the local area’s vibrant food and drink offering and the team will draw on their culinary flair, expertise and local supplier relationships, to present a warm, family-friendly atmosphere matched with affordable, freshly prepared, home-cooked dishes using the very best local produce. The third venue from the expert team’s impressive restaurant portfolio is set to open seven days a week and will follow the “From Nature to Plate” philosophy the teams at The Kitchin and Castle Terrace Restaurant have become renowned for, but will present a more informal destination than their other venues.

The new offering will see two of the city’s top Michelin star chefs Tom Kitchin and Dominic Jack come together to develop menus of simple, affordable dishes executed to perfection, showcasing their expertise, passion and knowledge of the best suppliers in Scotland. Local beers and drinks menus will also feature heavily at the neighbourhood pub where the front of house will be overseen by experienced restaurateur Michaela Kitchin and Food & Beverage Director Philippe Nublat who have both played a vital role in the success of The Kitchin and Castle Terrace Restaurant.

Top chefs celebrate Taste of Edinburgh 2012 line up with Scottish picnic

Top chefs celebrate Taste of Edinburgh 2012 line up with Scottish picnic

The crème de la crème of Scottish culinary talent came together in the glorious surroundings of The Meadows today (3 April) and tucked into a tasty Scottish picnic to celebrate the official launch of Taste of Edinburgh 2012.

Over 30,000 foodies are expected to descend upon The Meadows to enjoy a stellar line-up of 16 award-winning restaurants during the festival’s summer date of 6-8th July. Foodie fans will have the chance to enjoy live cooking demonstrations at the Taste Theatre and pick up tips from some of the country’s greatest chefs as they share their secrets live on stage. Visitors can also sample the very best of Scottish and British food and drink from over 100 artisan producers and brush up on their own culinary skills with hands-on AEG Perfekt Cooking Classes.

Taste of Edinburgh also unveiled its much anticipated restaurant line-up for 2012, representing Scottish culinary talent from across the country; Angels with Bagpipes, The Balmoral, Cucina at Hotel Missoni, Fourth Floor Restaurant, Plumed Horse, Restaurant Mark Greenaway, Tigerlily, and Vincaffe represent some of Edinburgh’s finest restaurants while Glasgow favourites Café Gandolfi and Two Fat Ladies at The Buttery return for a second year. Orkney’s Balfour Castle will also be bringing a taste of the north to the festival.

Castle Terrace Restaurant awarded by iconic Michelin Guide

Castle Terrace Restaurant awarded by iconic Michelin Guide

One of Scotland’s leading restaurants and Edinburgh-based Chef Patron Dominic Jack has been awarded with the most coveted accolade in the culinary world.

Castle Terrace Restaurant in Edinburgh was awarded with a Michelin star on 6 October after being tipped by Michelin as a Rising Star earlier this year. Despite only being established for just over a year, the restaurant has continued to show growth, flair, outstanding customer service and an increasingly ambitious and innovative menu – all delivered to perfection by Chef Patron Dominic Jack.

Chef Patron of Castle Terrace Restaurant, Dominic Jack said: “It has been an unbelievable first year and every day we learn and progress. I’ve imagined what it must feel like to hold a Michelin star since my early days working in some of the top Michelin restaurants in Paris so it’s incredibly rewarding to have received this recognition. The entire team here at Castle Terrace is overjoyed with today’s news.

“For me, a Michelin star restaurant is somewhere special and ultimately our guests will take home memories of the high standards of their entire dining experience which we strive towards every day.”

Philippe Nublat, who is Food and Beverage Director at Castle Terrace Restaurant and The Kitchin, said: “The support of the entire team has been outstanding, from the vital roles of our front of house team, led by Restaurant Manager Ross Hunter, to the perfection and dedication of the whole kitchen team. We have already managed to build a great collective of loyal customers and we’re now completely focused on showing our diners we truly deserve the accolade.“

Glenshee skiers sample new healthier haggis

Glenshee skiers sample new healthier haggis

A new chapter in the history of one of Scotland’s national treasures – the haggis – was written today with the launch of a healthier version of the famous dish.

Ahead of Burns Night hungry skiers at Glenshee were given the opportunity to sample the all-new haggis. The new version – 70% lower in salt and 35% lower in saturated fat than industry average – was developed by Quality Meat Scotland as part of a project to investigate the potential to lower the salt and saturated fat content of traditional Scots’ favourites.

Former Miss Scotland and Miss UK 2010, Katharine Brown, who is Healthy Eating Ambassador for QMS, served up the tasty haggis samples to skiers at Glenshee Ski Resort which is attracting daily crowds of around 500 skiers.