A study, 'Clicks & Cravings: The Impact of Social Technology on Food Culture," found about 40 percent of people now learn about food via Web sites, apps or blogs.
"Consumers used to rely on mom and family traditions for meal planning, but now search online for what to cook, without ever tasting or smelling," Laurie Demeritt, president of The Hartman Group, said in a statement. "Digital food selection is less of a sensory experience and more of a visual and rational process: What's on the label? What's in the recipe? Show me the picture!"
This interface of food and social media involves not only cooking, but eating and drinking as well. Nearly one-third of Americans use social networking sites while eating at home, but among those ages 18-32 this figure jumps to 47 percent.
"The 'table for one' rarely exists anymore, even among single people eating alone at home," Demeriit said. "If you are eating alone, chances are you are also texting friends who live miles away or posting food photos to a review site."
The study was jointly developed and conducted by consumer research firm The Hartman Group and Publicis Consultants USA, a food & nutrition marketing agency. It was conducted last October and November with a survey of 1,600 U.S. adult consumers and in-depth interviews in two major cities. No margin of error was provided.