February 2, 2020

From the Network: The Next Generation of Food Influencers

Food, glorious food. The Food and Drinks industry is more important to the UK than ever. According to Lloyds Bank, it employs over 4,000,000 people and generates £22 billion to the UK economy every year. The food craze is particularly vibrant on platforms like Instagram,  where people are posting millions of photos of food on a daily basis. The hashtag #food has been used over 260 million times, and it’s been reported that 18 - 35 year olds spend an average of 5 days a year browsing pictures of food on Instagram. Instagram is also having a big impact on where people eat, with 30% of 18 - 35 year olds saying they would avoid a restaurant if the food on it’s Instagram page didn’t look up to scratch. Food is extremely visual, which is why it works so well on platform like Instagram, and presents an opportunity for brands within the food sector to capitalise on the conversation.

A great way to authentically be a part of the food wave on Instagram is to partner with the individuals that are leading the scene. There are an array of food ‘influencer’ from professional chefs, to pop up restaurant and food bloggers that all live and breath food with their content. For brands that exist in the food industry, it can be a minefield to try and find an ambassador that suits your brands and that will genuinely have an impact on your audience. We’ve outline a few of many pages that are currently leading the food scene:


Gaz Oakley

Gaz Oakley, known online as Avant Garde Vegan, has stormed the internet since he first started posting pictures of his vegan creations on Instagram in 2016. Now, with a 4120,000 strong Instagram following, another 480,000 on YouTube and a second book on its way into shops this winter, Gaz feels humbled by how far his foodie snaps have taken him.

“I’m being labelled as an author, influencer, YouTuber – I’ve got two cookbooks which seems crazy to me! I guess you could call me an influencer because I post stuff and influence people.”


Matty Matheson

Watching Matty Matheson cook is a little like watching a tornado ballet. On camera, the chef—who became famous after Vice recorded him in a one-bedroom apartment in Toronto making an enormous cheeseburger, but mostly being hilarious—oscillates between singing about ingredients, overemphasizing random words in nonsensical sentences, and providing actually helpful, sometimes inspiring advice to new and seasoned cooks.With one cookbook down and another in the works, a massive following on social media and a trail of merch sold around the globe, Matheson has truly succeeded at creating a world unto himself. His latest venture is his YouTube cooking channel, that has been racking up over 300k views per episode. The show is centred around a mission to inspire people around the world of all skill levels to cook more.


Jasmine Hemsley

Jasmine Hemsley is a three-time best-selling author, the Founder of Hemsley + Hemsley and East by West,  a TV presenter with a show broadcast in over 25 countries, chef, food and health writer, restaurateur and nutrition & wellness expert. With a passion for eating well to feel happier, healthier and more energised, Jasmine believes in conscious, healthy and joyful living, drawing from the depth of Eastern wisdom and holistic philosophies of health, and marrying that with the latest cutting-edge technology and developments in Western wellbeing. Listed in the top 20 UK chefs, Jasmine uses her platform to promote a 360-degree approach to health and encourage a return to a simpler, more mindful way of life — reminding us we are of nature, rather than separate from it with an understanding that our own health is intrinsically linked to the wellbeing of the planet. With these messages Jasmine is inspiring her global audience to deepen their commitment to eco choices and sustainability in food, fashion and beauty.


Bad Canteen

Six young Londoners can’t cook, but they’re determined to try. They visit farms, make sushi croissants, compete in a burger cook-off, and go on a tasting tour of Scotland. (That’s just the start.) After launching in December, Bad Canteen has amassed nearly 150,000 subscribers on YouTube, where new episodes are released every Tuesday.

The show is supported by Kyra TV, a self-proclaimed “new age TV channel” with three shows, including Bad Canteen. Its stars all come from various creative fields: Jordan Charles and Helene Selam Kleih are models; Tia O’Donnell is an illustrator at Central Saint Martins; Caleb Kumiko is a filmmaker; and Scott Cruft is a stylist. Then there’s DamnShaq, a DJ and the ebullient ringleader of the crew. ”It all started with DamnShaq,” says the show’s director Jordan Rason. The rest of the group was part of Kyra TV’s extended network, mostly friends of friends. “As soon as the guys who didn’t know each other started hanging out, it was just meant to be.”


Nadiya Hussain

Before being crowned winner of the sixth series of Bake Off, Hussain was already a fan favourite on the show thanks to her extraordinary bakes, her hilarious facial expressions and her rock-solid calmness under pressure. When she joined the baking programme, Hussain was a stay-at-home mother-of-three, but since winning she has carved out a successful broadcasting and food-writing career, making her a household name while also becoming a leading figure for the Muslim community in the UK. Born in Luton to a Bangladeshi family, Hussain previously aspired to be a social worker, although she loved cooking and baking from a young age. After winning Bake Off, Hussain landed her own TV series on BBC One, a travelling cookery show called The Chronicles Of Nadiya. She later went on to front the series Nadiya’s British Food Adventure, Nadiya’s Family Favourites and Time To Eat. Not only a chef, Nadiya has been a strong ambassador for mental health issues, diversity and women's rights.