The Fear of Missing Out

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The poll of 2,000 Americans who use social media found 77% felt food-related fear of missing out (FOMO), and nearly as many (75%) said they instantly crave food when they see it online.

To prevent the fear of missing out, half of the respondents (57%) have attempted to make recipes they found online, and on average, make four online recipes per month.

Fifty-four percent had their last social media-inspired meal within two weeks previous to taking the survey.

Social Media and Food

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According to the survey, conducted by OnePoll on behalf of EnvyTM Apples, social media plays a significant role in the recipes people are drawn to make — on average, people feel the need to post their meal on social six times a month.

Nearly a quarter (24%) said they use YouTube and Facebook the most when it comes to finding trendy food inspiration.

Given the average respondent spends four hours of their day on social media, food content comes across their social at least seven times throughout the day. The average person follows at least 10 food-related accounts on social media as a result.

Some respondents wanted to go above and beyond just looking at food content. Sixty-seven percent would want to become a snack influencer if they had the chance.

“Many people often think you have to compromise taste and flavor in order to eat ‘healthy,’ but this mentality of thinking you have to sacrifice is often what leads us to crave the foods we deem ‘unhealthy’ and drives our FOMO when you see an indulgent snack on social media that you would rather be having,” said Ashley Hawk, dietitian, and Food Network star from the TV show ‘How Healthy Happens.’ “My simple advice to my followers and clients on how to combat this is to start with whole foods that are naturally delicious and use them as the backbone of your recipe.

“For example, instead of going straight for that slice of cheesecake, try a cheesecake dip and use fresh apple slices to dip with it. This allows you to still indulge in the sweet flavors we all crave, but the fiber and other nutrients from the apples will actually allow you to feel satiated and avoid overindulging.”

Healthy vs. Indulgent

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The survey also revealed a decisive split for whether or not snacks should be healthy or indulgent.

For 61%, healthy recipes are appealing because of their perceived taste, while nearly as many opt for healthy recipes due to how simple they are to make (60%) and how easy it is to share with others (49%).

Meanwhile, 62% like the appeal of “indulgent” recipes — also for being simple to make (61%) and perceived taste (59%). However, 41% who prefer indulgent recipes like their inherent trendiness and Instagramability.

Sixty-nine percent find themselves “liking” and “favoriting” healthy recipes they spot on social media. By comparison, 63% like and favorite the indulgent recipes they see online.

Even when it comes to their own recipes, 73% admitted they spend extra time preparing their meals just to make them more picturesque for social media.

When trying out a new recipe, 46% of respondents enjoyed the meal for themselves but also shared the meal with their family (25%) or friends (10%).

“With searches for healthy recipes being just as popular as searches for indulgent recipes on social media, it’s clear consumers don’t want to miss out on either,” said Cecilia Flores Paez, Head of Marketing at EnvyTM Apples. “There is a real sense of FOMO when it comes to flavor, which is why taste is important to consumers—even when it comes to the purest form of snacks, such as an apple.”


I feel impressed that someone can make that dish – 43% 

I feel a sense of accomplishment and pride for the person who made it – 42% 

I feel inspired to make my own food – 41% 

I feel envious of the person who gets to eat it – 39% 

I feel hungry – 35% 


Professional chefs – 50% 

Restaurant influencers – 49% 

Amateur home cooks – 48% 

Baking influencers – 47% 

Fitness/health professionals – 45% 

Survey methodology: 

This random double-opt-in survey of 2,000 Americans who use social media was commissioned by EnvyTM Apples between February 8 and February 10, 2023. It was conducted by market research company OnePoll, whose team members are members of the Market Research Society and have corporate membership to the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) and the European Society for Opinion and Marketing Research (ESOMAR). 


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Meet Melissa

Bourbon stole my heart a few years ago when I had several opportunities to write about it. Food stole my heart when I was lucky enough to be raised by a mom who managed to make nearly everything from scratch when we were growing up.