From food festivals and scrumptious food Instagram accounts to TV networks and YouTube series just about food, foodie culture has captured the world. Whether it’s the taste, presentation, or ingredients used, foodies simply can’t get enough. Don't call us gluttons; we just have an insatiable desire to discover the latest culinary innovations, check out highly reviewed restaurants, and share our experiences with loved ones.

For a movement so widely appreciated and quickly spreading, however, I couldn't help but wonder when exactly foodie culture began, and how it is shaping the culinary world. Foodies aren't just food-lovers, they are also some of the best critics, and they have indeed left their mark on the culinary world. I explored the history of foodie culture, and here’s everything you need to know about it.

The Dawn of Foodie Culture 

Food Photography, iphone photo, Camera, Instagram, IPhone, foodstagram
Luna Zhang

The term "foodie" itself dates back to 1980, when Gael Greene first created the word in New York magazine. At first, the word was not recognized by the day-to-day citizen; it was familiarly used in the exclusive jargon of food critics. It was only until the 90s and the turn of the century when food aficionados began calling themselves foodies. Not long after, ordinary individuals began to pursue food as a hobby, whether it be eating, cooking, or both. Then, the food scene skyrocketed.

Foodies and the Internet: An Unbeatable Combo

coffee, chocolate, mug, laptop, computer, study, bagel, bread, cafe
Denise Uy

Food critics have been around for centuries, but food blogging is a recent phenomenon. It took some time for people in the food industry to transition from writing books to publishing blog posts on the Internet. The transition began in 1997, when the first Chowhound message board was launched. Anyone was able to post their restaurant reviews on the forum, giving food lovers a medium to connect with one another.

A decade later, there were about twenty food online blogs, including Deb Parelman's Smitten Kitchen and Luisa Weiss's The Wednesday Chef—both of which still run today. Fast forward to today, and now thousands of people are posting food photos on Instagram and how-to videos on YouTube. On a larger scale, media and news sources, like BuzzFeed, now cater to foodies by sharing an array of food-related videos online: recipes, restaurant recommendations, cook-offs, etc. In other words, the Internet is now a foodie's playground.

From Food Trucks to Food Festivals: The Foodie Influence

chocolate, candy
Rebecca Buchanan

Once foodie culture got into full swing, the culinary world has never been the same as foodies spearhead new trends and help expand the food industry. Take the food truck for example. While selling food on the go has been around for decades (think of the ice cream truck), food trucks only became a mainstay in the food industry when Roy Choi launched his famous Kogi truck in 2008, selling Korean-Mexican fusion tacos. The key to his success? Twitter. His customers promoted his food truck on Twitter, spreading the word across LA.

Aside from food trucks, more and more food festivals are appearing across the country. From boba festivals to events celebrating ethnic cuisine, there is bound to be an event that suits your taste. Sometimes, these events allow vendors to showcase their newest culinary innovations as well. In 2018, the LA 626 Night Market welcomed about 100,000 attendees and featured unique takes on food, like milk tea in a light bulb and ramen burgers. These events not only bring food lovers together, but also encourage culinary creativity.

Foodies are at the forefront of other changes in the culinary world as well. They are supporting farmers’ markets, encouraging fast food chains to use fresher ingredients, and the list goes on. From a simple love of food, foodie culture has become a monumental force. 

Foodie Culture: Building Bridges

Party, Indian Food, Sparklers, Sangria, sushi
Carolyne Su

Beyond its impact on the culinary world, one of the great things about foodie culture is that it brings people together. Whether it’s meeting someone at a food festival or reading someone’s culinary story on their blog, food connects people from very different backgrounds. That’s why foodie culture isn’t just a trend. Food is a shared experience, and people will continue to enjoy food together.