By Zainab Mboga
Food has been my passion ever since I was a little child, and having to grow up at “Mama Halimas” house at the Kenyan coast, cooking was not an option. By the age of 10 cooking was my destiny. While having many failed experiments with cooking food she would always say “wacha Israf” which simply meant “stop wasting” learn to salvage what you can serve. I have ever since lived with the mantra of appreciating food. So what has changed?
Social media technology has seen a growth in Africa. In Kenya for the past five years there has been a tremendous increase use of new technology in the form of computers and mobile phones. Photos taken during rituals, celebrations, fun and captivating moment even just boring days, people have found a way of escape to the internet to serve their ever-growing need to socialize by uploading images. According to a CNN blog in 2016 Kenya has been listed the third in Africa in terms of internet consumers with 4.5 million users, 12 million in South Africa while 15 million users originating from Nigeria. Keeping in mind that over 80% of the users were using their mobile phones.
In 2013 there was an approximately 1.6 million daily uploads on Flickr alone on average. By 2015 the number increased to 60.7 million photos a month. Uploading photos is the most popular activity on both Facebook and twitter, while Instagram, currently the largest photo sharing media tool that grew by 23% in 2013. With the likes of Hash tags #TBT #ThrowbackThursday was born, a platform where people upload their old photos to pass a fun and exciting message to rest of the world.
The internet technology has created a platform for expressing personal views to the world over. Just as one of the 99 thesis of clue train manifesto where by the internet through the digital platforms has created a means through the global village with its high-speed nature thus “internet is enabling conversation” well explained. According to Instagram 90 new photos are uploaded every minute while in Facebook 60 photos are uploaded daily. The trend seems to be increasing over time. During the recent months Coca-Cola company had started a new trend where their sodas had branded name and had an online campaign challenge to make participants share their meals with coke #ShareaCoke where one will find their desired name tags, win by being awarded free meals and other merchandises. This brought about the increase in uploads of photos that accelerated social conversations.
This new trend of sharing meals has almost become our daily activity. This created the need to visit the newly eatery phenomenons in the country. Cultures of going to Pizza In, Java, KFC and now Subway has seen increasing attendance such that people can be able to share the experiences their friends and family. The terrific Tuesdays and the Pizza Wednesdays where food is sold at buy one get one free has enabled a good number of the people experiencing new foods and later posting them.
Food shows have been increasing in the country from Pika chakula, Royco Fuata Flavor to the AfyaBora show and chungu chetu airing on local television stations have received a welcomed viewing in the local market. Youtube on the other hand has given everyone an opportunity to be a broadcaster. People upload thousand of videos and people from all over the world would subscribe to a particular channel. Restaurants, chefs and homemade artists would upload their videos and sometimes be trending for either good or weird foods even the media houses would upload some of the content for bloopers. For example food channel on Youtube, worst cooks in America, Hell’s kitchen, cooks versus cons which not only entertain but also teach the viewers on new terminologies and how they are cooked.
In south Korea, however, a new trend of food appreciation is tested to the limit. The eating of meals online providing an opportunity or someone else in the world to dine with them in real time
In 2000, BBC discovered a big gap in the society thus including a programming content so as to share the rising social problems brought by food. They launched supersize versus super skinny where they were they swap foods for a week and taught to be average portions.
The United Nations is one of the organizations that have used the social media for awareness of the sustainable development goals in order to reduce wastage of food. In their research, the United Nations on the November 2010 declared that more than a third of food is wasted every year a number that has been rapidly increasing and there was a need for the global world to reduce food wastage and reduce poverty rates.
In summary, for I being a food lover am pleased to say that the local foods have indeed changed from simple traditional foods to now more convenient, appealing, high nutrition value and free delivery through the promotions by social media trends and food ambassadors. “You are what you eat” a common statement reminding everyone to eat just right, glad to be part of the online food revolution.