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As Cost of Living Prices Soar, is Flaunting Untouched Food the Latest Luxury Trend?

by Kinjal Dixit

Food, a universal basic necessity, is increasingly being viewed as a luxury category amid rising costs. 


With prices steadily climbing, the affordability of food is diminishing, echoing historical trend patterns. Unlike fashion trends, however, this shift in food perception has significant economic implications, particularly for the average consumer, raising concerns about affordability and societal implications.


Throughout history, trends tend to resurface, and the current trend of portraying food as a symbol of affluence echoes this pattern. In today’s economy, obvious displays of wealth often involve excessive quantities of food, even when it won’t be consumed. 


Flaunting purely decorative food, particularly in the form of elaborate displays at parties, has become synonymous with the upper class.


Social media magnifies this phenomenon, exemplified by celebrities who flaunt lavish dinner parties featuring untouched spreads meant solely for visual spectacle. 


An Instagram post from Khloé Kardashian furthered this, presenting a bouquet containing oranges despite oranges recently experiencing shortages in the USA. 


Such displays of excess amid scarcity underscore societal disparities and the disconnect between abundance and need.


As food becomes synonymous with wealth and luxury, the inherent wastefulness of these displays becomes increasingly apparent. At events like the Grammys, food is presented more as decor than sustenance, contributing to the normalization of excess and the devaluation of food’s primary function.


Charcuterie boards strategically placed for aesthetic appeal highlight the growing disconnect between food and its primary purpose – nourishment.


Luxury fashion brands capitalize on this trend by incorporating food-related motifs into their designs, further perpetuating the narrative of exclusivity. Louis Vuitton's $3000 sandwich bag and Balenciaga's grocery shopping-themed runway (including a $1800 lays crips bag) showcase blur the lines between everyday necessities and luxury commodities.



As prices soar and accessibility diminishes, food finds its place alongside high-end fashion on runways and in advertising campaigns.


Paired with online Erehwon mukbangs boasting $100 on smoothies and ice cream, mundane tasks like grocery shopping are now portrayed as luxury experiences, reflecting a broader societal shift towards equating food with opulence.


This trend not only reflects widening socioeconomic disparities but also challenges our perception of basic necessities. As the rich flaunt their abundance, the less fortunate struggle to access essential resources, highlighting systemic inequalities.


In a world where basic necessities are rebranded as luxuries, it is imperative to address the root causes of inequality and ensure equitable access to food for all. Only then can we strive towards a society where food is no longer synonymous with privilege, but a fundamental right for every individual.


Edited by Emily Duff

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