5 Initiatives That Combine Food and Social Media for the Greater Good [LIST]

Hashtags are changing the way we look at food, for the better

Taking a food photo.

(AnjelikaGr / Shutterstock.com) 

You are out in a restaurant or at home and you have a delicious meal waiting for you. Instead of tucking straight in, you get your smartphone out, find the perfect angle, take a snap and upload it to Facebook or Instagram with a perfectly formed hashtag. Sound familiar? You are not alone. The trend of posting food pics on social media is so popular that many are taking advantage of the phenomenon to do good. Please get to know some awesome initiatives that use uploaded images of food to encourage healthy eating, provide food for the needy and reduce waste. #Bonappétit!


WHAT: An index that monitors photos of food uploaded to social media channels to encourage people to eat healthier.
IN DETAIL: When uploading pictures of tasty treats on social media, AKA "Food Porn," junk food and desserts usually clog up the news feeds. Bolthouse Farms is on a mission to change all this with their funky index that tracks food-related hashtags, presenting the information using cool graphics. The index includes 24 categories - 12 of which are junk food and the other 12 healthy fruits and vegetables. The real time data collected is presented on a “vs" page that highlights how underrepresented the healthier food is compared to the junk. In order to rectify this imbalance, people are encouraged to post more images of fruits and vegetables to prevent the junk food side from dominating.
SECRET INGREDIENT: To add a little fun factor, each food featured has it's own user-generated animation, including a kale slot machine and a carrot keyboard. Just click on each picture to start the fun!


WHAT: For every food photo posted to Instagram, Facebook or Twitter with the #mealforameal hashtag, a real meal is delivered to someone in need.
IN DETAIL: Virgin Mobile Australia has teamed up with perishable food rescue organisation OzHarvest to turn photos uploaded to social media into nourishing meals. OzHarvest caters for  two million Australians who depend on food relief by rescuing waste produce and delivering it charities throughout the country. Virgin has pledged to help their cause by making a donation for a meal every time the hashtag #mealforameal is used when posting a foodie photo on the Web. Together they plan to raise enough money to provide 400,000 meals.
SECRET INGREDIENT: Funny woman Jane Lynch has backed the campaign with this hilarious video that pokes some fun at the world of social media.


WHAT: A fun social media platform that encourages communities to transform food waste into new value, celebration and resource efficiency.
IN DETAIL: Farmer Nick Papadopoulos was tired of seeing so much fresh produce go to waste so he decided to create a simple alert system for farmers, grocers and the general public that helps them publicize leftover food. Anyone with surplus food at risk of getting spoilt can post photos and information about what they have to offer via email, Twitter, and Facebook. Spreading the alerts through social media means that the information is shared instantly and the food finds a home.
SECRET INGREDIENT: CropMobster is all about giving credit where credit is due and does this by publishing
impact stories to congratulate and thank users who made a difference with their contributions.


WHAT: A global day of action to keep cooking skills alive and raise awareness about healthy, homemade food.
IN DETAIL: The event is all about getting kids food smart by inspiring a love of cuisine and cooking that will last a lifetime. Spearheaded by everyone's favorite cheeky British chef Jamie Oliver, the campaign invites people from all over the world to share their cooking-from-scratch experiences on platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. While the official event was back in May, there are still plenty of great ways to get involved such as exploring the awesome healthy recipes for kids, families and grown-ups to enjoy.
SECRET INGREDIENT: The official website is stuffed with loads of free resources that can be relevant all year round such as education packs, scavenger hunts and quizzes for kids.


WHAT: An Instagram filter that uses food selfies as an innovative way to give money to those in need.
IN DETAIL: Spanish nonprofit Manos Unidas understands the power of the food selfie and created #FoodShareFilter as a way to provide meals. Users download a special app, upload their favorite food shots to Instagram with the #FoodShareFilter hashtag and money collected from app sales goes to the fight against hunger. The app has been downloaded thousands of times generating a considerable amount of money by giving users the opportunity to share their food, but for real.
SECRET INGREDIENT: As well as providing financial assistance, the virality of the campaign raises awareness of the issue and also creates a database of stunning food photos.