New Research Suggests Social Media Influencers Could Be Key To Increase Produce Consumption

Apr 29, 2024
New Research Suggests Social Media Influencers Could Be Key To Increase Produce Consumption
UK companies spent an astonishing £820 million last year on social media influencer marketing, according to data from It’s not surprising given the allure and power it can have in shaping consumer habits.

But could influencers who promoted the norms of eating healthy sway all of us to eat more fruits and vegetables?

Recent research work by a team at Aston University that focuses on social media shows that it is perhaps possible. In a study of 52 young digital users – half of whom who were shown positive images and messaging about fresh produce – a positive trend emerged:

The ones following Instragram accounts that promoted fruits and veg began consuming more fresh produce and less unhealthy food.

“Our previous research has demonstrated that social norms on social media may nudge food consumption, but this pilot demonstrates that this translates to the real world,” said Dr Lily Hawkins, lead researcher who is now at the University of Exeter. “Of course, we would like to now understand whether this can be replicated in a larger, community sample.”

Hawkins, who worked with colleagues Dr Jason Thomas and Professor Claire Farrow in the School of Psychology, conducted a simple study. Volunteers were split into two groups – one followed healthy eating accounts on Instagram, while the other followed interior design accounts for two weeks.

Those who followed good dieting consumed an extra 1.4 portions of fresh produce per day and 0.8 fewer “energy dense items, such as high-calorie snacks and sugar-sweetened drinks.” Researchers say the small trial shows a vast improvement over other societywide intervention campaigns.

Still, Dr Thomas cautioned that with the small sample size, it was too early to make signficant judgments about the potential impacts.

“This is only a pilot intervention study at the moment, but it’s quite an exciting suite of findings, as it suggests that even some minor tweaks to our social media accounts might lead to substantial improvements in diet, at zero cost! Our future work will examine whether such interventions actually do change our perceptions of what others are consuming, and also, whether these interventions produce effects that are sustained over time.”

Either way, they say the prevalence of social media and its influence could be the key to helping change some of those bad habits.

Source: producebusinessuk