1. Economics
July 22, 2015

New Yorkers eat more pizza than Italians, and other lessons from this Instagram food map

By Kat Houston

Everyone has that one friend – or these days, possibly, more than one – who whips out their phone as soon as their food arrives, and proceeds to take “artistic” photos of it to upload to Instagram, before taking the first bite of what is presumably now a cold meal. Many of these people include helpful hashtags – “#pizza”, say, or “#NYC” – presumably so that any hypothetical food photography researcher would have a well-indexed source of data to work from.

But now, thanks to this map, we can find out which cities have residents who really love Instagramming their food. For a bit of free marketingfun, the British photography services firm Photoworld has created a world food map showing which cities hashtag their food the most

To help us make sense of the data, Photoworld produced 18 maps, showing the relative popularity of different foods in cities around the world. (For what it’s worth, New Yorkers provided the largest number of photographs; the next two biggest cities were London and Los Angeles.)

So, now we can tell that New Yorkers produce double the number of pizza snaps than Bologna, Naples, Rome and Milan combined.

New York City (6.1 per cent) and Los Angeles (3.2 per cent) take the top two positions ahead of Naples, Italy (2.1 per cent) for #pizza snaps.

The big apple’s jerk chicken obsession was another surprise: neither London, with its sizeable Caribbean community, nor Kingston, Jamaica, where the food originates, could budge it from the top spot.

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New York’s 8.5 per cent and London‘s 8.1 per cent trump #jerkchicken’s home town of Kingston, Jamaica (6.9 per cent).

Of all the different food types, Germany’s currywurst travelled the worst. (Sorry.)

All the top five cities Instagramming their currywurst were within Germany itself; in all, Berlin produced nearly 40 per cent of the relevant photos.

Currywurst doesn’t get out much.

The Canadian delicacy Poutine, aka chips with cheese and gravy, doesn’t get about much, either. All five of the cities that hashtag poutine the most are in Canada.

That’s not a surprise: ask most non-Canadians and they won’t have a clue what ”poutine” is. (Which is a shame, as chips, cheese and gravy sounds a lot like the perfect post-night out meal.)


Love the food, don’t recognise the name. Try marketing it better.

Burgers are more universal, with a heavy presence in countries as far apart as the US, UK, France and Australia.

London (4.7 per cent) came out on top ahead of New York City (4.5 per cent) and LA (3.4 per cent). Melbourne just missed fourth position, coming just 0.1 per cent behind Paris (2.7 per cent)

Tough competition on the #burger front – but London stole the crown.

Australia’s sizeable Asian community provides a rich choice of dishes such as the Vietnamese baguette, banh mi. Melbourne (8.8 per cent) beat off giant New York City (8.2 per cent) and Vietnam’s largest city Ho Chi Minh City (5.1 per cent) to take the lead position.

Mmmm. Banh mi.

This is not exactly a scientific survey: it doesn’t tell you where a food is popular, merely where ordering that food and then sticking a picture on social media is. The dominance of New York and London in so many categories probably reflects the fact they’re large, rich cities with a lot of smart phones in them.

All the same – we’re hungry.

Kat Houston is web editor at Design Curial.

Images: Photoworld.

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