Bringing AAPI Representation Home

Trends / Realness
MoMo Productions
Gabrielle Pedro Fredrick
May 29, 2024
For consumers, food is a source of connection—and representation
From grocery shopping with a partner to celebrating a holiday with extended family, there are many intricacies that define how people come together and connect. Our VisualGPS research finds that togetherness is the most popular concept found in people‑centric imagery downloaded by food and beverage brands.

Our VisualGPS consumer survey confirms that representation also plays a key role in purchase decisions around what we eat and drink. First, Americans are twice as likely to prefer food and beverage imagery featuring people that look like them over visuals that depict people living a life they’d like to live. Furthermore, 1 in 4 say the style, design, and images used in advertizing and communications are the most important factor when buying groceries or household items. The visuals that brands use have an impact on how consumers perceive them.
Current AAPI representation focuses on work and lacks connection
This AAPI (Asian American/Pacific Islander) Heritage Month, we are proud to continue our ongoing work to curate reflective and authentic imagery reflective of Asian‑Americans, as outlined in our Asian American Imagery Toolkit. We’ve discussed AAPI celebrations and food as culture, but let’s explore more everyday ways to authentically highlight the Asian‑American experience through food and beverage imagery.

Despite VisualGPS data finding that Asian Americans cite work/life balance as their highest priority in life, we are almost three times more likely to be seen at work than at home. Current representation is further contradicted by the fact that Asian Americans are more likely to live in a multigenerational home than any other ethnic group1 and are more likely to be married compared to the general population2.
Evolve current AAPI depictions by bringing visuals home
‘Togetherness’ and ‘friendship’ and among the top two concepts most seen in food and beverage imagery, yet Asian Americans are more likely to be seen alone than with other people. What’s currently missing from popular imagery are those moments of connection among the AAPI population, especially at home. When we think about food and beverage visuals specifically, we know that 64% of Americans cook at home—and we know how pivotal food is to AAPI culture. But when we look at how the AAPI population is currently seen in top downloads by food and beverage customers, only 5% of people are seen cooking.

To evolve Asian‑American representation in food and beverage visuals, focus on what someone might look like when they’re not at work. How would someone spend their mornings before leaving for the workday? What would someone do to wind down after a long commute? Think about errands that need to be run on the weekend, or what’s cooking for dinner. We use food as comfort, as nostalgia, and to feel more connected to our multitude of heritages. Given the significance of food in our culture, what are we eating? Better yet, given the prominence of togetherness, consider who we are with
The Male Consumer