A1 Journal article (refereed)
The impact of digital image-based features on users' emotions and online behaviours in the food industry (2022)

Murtarelli, G., Romenti, S., & Valentini, C. (2022). The impact of digital image-based features on users' emotions and online behaviours in the food industry. British Food Journal, 124(1), 31-49. https://doi.org/10.1108/bfj-12-2020-1099

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editors: Murtarelli, Grazia; Romenti, Stefania; Valentini, Chiara

Journal or series: British Food Journal

ISSN: 0007-070X

eISSN: 1758-4108

Publication year: 2022

Publication date: 30/06/2021

Volume: 124

Issue number: 1

Pages range: 31-49

Publisher: Emerald

Publication country: United Kingdom

Publication language: English

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1108/bfj-12-2020-1099

Publication open access: Not open

Publication channel open access:


Online images can convey sensory-based elements affecting digital users' emotions and digital engagement. The purpose of this study is to investigate which image-based features are more effective in conveying and stimulating particular emotions and engagement towards organizations operating in the food industry.

An online experimental survey was implemented. Two image-based features, narrativity and dynamism were chosen. The stimuli comprise four images, one with high and one with low level of narrativity, and one with high and one with low dynamism, published by a food company on its official Instagram account. Food-identity, emotional appeals and digital visual engagement behaviours were measured. A total of 141 students between 19 and 25 years old of a European University completed the questionnaire. Data was analysed through SPSS software using t-test analysis.

Results show that both narrativity and dynamism impact digital users' emotions and it was found to impact digital visual engagement attitude. Food involvement was measured in terms of food identity impact the effects of specific image-based features on emotions and visual engagement.

Research limitations/implications
The study focuses on only two visual social semiotics features – narrativity and dynamism – and therefore, only partially captures the potentialities of images in digital communications.

Practical implications
This study provides professionals with empirical evidence and insights for effectively planning a visual social media strategy.

This paper contributes to the stream of research in social media communications by investigating the visual social semiotic features of images published online by a food company.

Keywords: visual communication; social media; Instagram; consumer behaviour; emotions; branding; food sector

Free keywords: food imagery; visual communication; Instagram; visual engagement

Contributing organizations

Ministry reporting: Yes

Reporting Year: 2022

Preliminary JUFO rating: 1

Last updated on 2022-19-08 at 20:17