The Lion's Den

Who Are The Top Food Influencers On Instagram?

What is a KOL (Key Opinion Leader)

Food influencers on Instagram are some of the most popular creators on the platform. These creators post a variety of content about food and cooking, including recipes, meal plans, cooking product reviews, restaurant reviews, and more. Among the most popular influencers are many food influencers in the USA, but there is also some international representation. 

This guide will explore some of the top food influencers and their impact on audiences. We’ll also answer the questions: What is a KOL (key opinion leader)? And are all food influencers also KOLs? 

Who Is The Most Followed Food Influencer On Instagram?

For an influencer, having more followers typically means more opportunities and being able to command higher rates in brand partnerships. Being the most-followed influencer in a certain niche gives the influencer additional respect and authority within that space, making it a highly sought-after title. So, who are the most followed chefs on Instagram? And is the top chef also the most followed food influencer on Instagram?

Currently, the most-followed chef is also the most-followed food influencer on Instagram—Gordon Ramsey. He has over 14 million followers on the platform, with an additional 36 million followers on TikTok. After Ramsay, Jamie Oliver is the chef and food influencer with the next-higher follower count at 10 million. Close behind in third place is Bëtul Tunç, a Turkish food influencer with 9.7 million followers. 

Who Is the #1 Instagram Influencer In The Food Category?

Having lots of followers doesn’t automatically make someone a great influencer. People can purchase fake followers or have old accounts with large followings, so it’s important to weigh other factors when deciding which influencer is “#1.” To truly be the best, the influencer needs a large following, yes, but also a strong impact on that audience and high engagement from their followers. 

With that in mind, it’s clear that Gordon Ramsay is the #1 Instagram influencer in the food category. He has a large audience who love the content he posts and constantly engages with it. His impact on the audience and even the platform, in general, is profound: many other creators in this niche make videos or other content specifically for him to react to and recreate his recipes. A close second is Jamie Oliver, who also has an engaged audience on the platform but just not quite as many followers.  

Who Are The Most Popular Food Bloggers?

Food blogging long predates Instagram food influencers and even Instagram itself. As the name suggests, food bloggers post content about food to a blog—a personal website that generally emphasizes text explanations alongside images and sometimes videos. Bloggers typically own the websites where they post content, which is a big difference from influencers who post on social media platforms owned and run by huge companies. Some food bloggers are also social media food influencers, but you can be one without being the other. 

Two popular food bloggers who are also food influencers are Dana Shultz and Ella Woodward. Shultz founded the website Minimalist Baker, a blog where she wrote recipes that focused on simple cooking with ten ingredients or less. The website does not host sponsored content, meaning the successful business is based entirely on original content. Shultz maintains an Instagram presence that promotes the blog. 

Ella Woodward is another food blogger who is known for her “Deliciously Ella” food blog, where she publishes plant-based recipes. Woodward has published a New York Times Bestselling Cookbook based on her blog and has 2.4 million followers on Instagram. There, she publishes food content as well as behind-the-scenes content that’s more personal. 

Who Is The Most Followed Cook On Instagram?

Some food influencers are just home cooks with a passion for food and cooking, but others are professional chefs with industry experience. Chefs like Jamie Oliver and Gordon Ramsay have large social media followings, and Ramsay is actually the most-followed cook on Instagram, with over 15 million followers.  

These celebrity chefs can capitalize on their existing audiences and become successful food influencers on social media. Some of the top food influencers on TikTok are inspired by and have even collaborated with professional celebrity chefs like Oliver and Ramsay. Instagram is arguably the best platform to combine cooking and being an influencer, though. There, people are able to leverage their passion for cooking and make a career out of it by being a food influencer on Instagram. They get paid for promoting brands, all while doing what they love. 

Breakdown of Top Food Influencers on Instagram

We’ve put together a list of the top six food influencers currently on Instagram, plus some emerging young food influencers you should keep an eye on. To create this list, we considered the influencers’ audience size, engagement, and reputation. Here are our top six: 

1. Jamie Oliver

Jamie Oliver is a celebrity chef and restaurant owner from the United Kingdom. He rose to stardom with his series The Naked Chef and has gone on to become one of the most famous chefs in the world and one of the most followed chefs on Instagram. He has opened several restaurants, published multiple cookbooks, and currently creates cooking content that he posts to Instagram for his 10 million followers.  

2. Gordon Ramsay

Gordon Ramsay is another British celebrity chef who has become one of the top male food influencers in the world. He gained fame in the British miniseries Boiling Point in 1999 and is known for his strong temper. Ramsay has hosted a variety of competitive cooking and food shows, with Hell’s Kitchen and MasterChef among the most notable. On YouTube and Instagram, he has more than 35 million followers combined, and he uses these platforms to showcase recipe tutorials, reviews, and cooking tips. 

3. David Chang

David Chang is an American chef, restaurant owner, and television personality who posts food content on Instagram to nearly 2 million followers. His restaurant has had two Michelin stars since 2009, and the restaurant group also sells home cooking products and food across the country. 

4. Rosanna Pansino

Rosanna Pansino is the first food influencer on this list who didn’t get her start as a professional chef.  Pansino was one of the earliest successful food influencers on YouTube, known for baking videos and her Nerdy Nummies series on the platform. Today, Pansino’s YouTube channel has over 4 billion views with 14 million subscribers, and she also has more than 4 million followers on her Instagram.  

5. Dana Shultz

Dana Shultz got her start as a food blogger and only later transitioned into being an Instagram food influencer as well. Her blog, Minimalist Baker, showcases simple meals readers can make with just a few ingredients. She has also published multiple cookbooks with these kinds of recipes. On Instagram, she posts food content and more personal content about her life to her engaged followers. 

6. Ella Woodward

Ella Woodward was also first known as a food blogger but is now a hugely successful businesswoman, writer, and Instagram food influencer. She has more than 2 million followers on Instagram who love her content about plant-based food and useful cooking tips. Her blog, “Deliciously Ella,” is still up and running and has lots of healthy vegan recipes. 

7. Emerging Influencers

While they may not have the largest audiences yet, there are also some young food influencers and Gen Z food influencers who are emerging onto the scene. These include Tram Tran  (@babydumplingg), who creates Mukbang videos, and Peyton Pratte (@choosing_balance), who shares healthy and simple recipes. 

The Role and Impact of Food Influencers

Food influencers truly do impact food trends and people’s eating habits over time. For example, someone who closely follows a vegan food influencer will often start incorporating more vegan foods into their diet, even if they never go fully vegan. Food influencers in the USA and other countries are changing the food industry by changing how companies promote their products. Increasingly, companies are choosing influencer marketing to promote their food or related products since it’s so effective. The result is that food influencers can impact not just their audiences but also the broader food industry. 

Audiences trust the recommendations that their favorite Instagram food influencers make. That means when an influencer says great things about a cooking tool or discusses how much they enjoy a certain dish, plenty of audience members will want to try that tool or dish. They have a real, almost immediate impact on the people who engage with their content. 

How Lionize Can Help

The top food influencers on Instagram have a greater impact than you might think. They affect the food industry and people’s eating habits, one picture of a smoothie at a time. The most popular food influencers include celebrity chefs but also food bloggers and people without any professional cooking training. The most followed chefs on Instagram, like Gordon Ramsay and Jamie Oliver, have some competition in the form of other popular food influencers. Don’t write off food influencers—they have a lot to offer. 

If you’re looking to find and manage food influencers for your own marketing efforts, contact us today!