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Instagram, food, social good- there’s an app for that

Are you a foodie? Are you reasonably social media-savvy and cannot live without your daily “likes” fix? Then chances are you are addicted to Instagram, and also that you spend more than average on food in terms of time AND money.  Now, charity Action against Hunger (well known in the UK for its annual Auction Against Hunger) has come up with an app making you feel less guilty about this…or maybe more…read on


I am guilty of excessive Instagramming as much as the next food blogger – I try to contain myself to one, hopefully good, picture a day, although sometimes enthusiasm pushes me to break my self-imposed rules (cue spectacular multi-courses dinner which I know I’ll never have the patience to blog before months but looks oh-so-good with a Mayfair filter).

There’s no excuse for the compulsive, continuous use of Instagram by a foodie: it’s lazy, it’s navel-gazing, it’s annoying, it’s unhealthy (try to eat a salad while looking at an endless stream of yummy food). But…some creative markejting person thought- what if your social media addiction could do good? Like, for instance, making you think about food-related issues, like food waste and its counterpart, hunger due to food scarcity? US-based charity Action Against Hunger has an app for that.

The “Auction against Hunger” launched by AAH in the UK is now all the rage on Twitter, although only the happy few can hope to bag prizes lots such as ‘going to a restaurant for a review with Jay Rayner . Whilst I am sure this must be good fun if Jay’s conversation is as entertainingly sarcastic as his reviews, and would do almost anything to be pals with Marina O’Loughlin and discuss Italian food, I think me bidding would involve selling a kidney so I’ll pass.

Overseas, instead, things are a bit less highbrow so Action Against Hunger has come up with a clever idea to give a charitable makeover to our favourite self-indulging hobby. Give Your Calories is a free smartphone app which invites you to snap what you’re eating, calculates (roughly, I hope) how many calories are in there, and then prompts you to donate a proportional amount of money - $1 for less than 200 calories – a rare feat on Instagram unless you’re shooting flowers or cupcake crumbles- $2 up to 300, $5 up to 400 and then $1 more for each extra 100 kcal. You can also scan barcodes or ‘educate” your app to recognise foods you consume often.

So far, Give your Calories (made by Belgian digital agency Happiness Brussels – a company whose name is an oxymoron ;) has recorded 185,000 calories worldwide and given Action For Hunger not just money buth also buzz and space in the media.

Personally, I am in two minds about this initiative. On one hand, I don’t like charities trying to elicit donations by making me go on a guilt trip (and this one is a Road 66-proportion trip, making you think of both YOUR growing waistline and OTHER PEOPLE’S starving). On the other hand, as a marketing person I appreciate the creative twist, and joking aside both over-nutrition and under-nutrition are serious issues, so anything raising awareness and money is welcome.

What’s your take? Tell me in the comments (and of course, let’s follow each other on Instagram -I’m @TheFWorldBlog)


Bonus: a cute infographic profiling the “Instagram Junkie” (to take with a pinch of salt and self-irony).

instagram infographic  action against hunger

Infographic credits: Flowton and Columnfivemedia (original here)




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Serena Mariani
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Donate Your Calories- iOS App from Action Against Hunger
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  1. I am so bad with instagram. Mine never seem to work, so I have just given up! But I really see the value of the app for those who do!

    • Looks like you’re doing just fine overall Fiona so I wouldn’t worry ;) but if you want to give Instagram a second chance, I’ll see if I can help when we meet in Abruzzo x

  2. I do agree with you. Now the time has been changed. People are buying food using apps and enjoying their life.

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