“Food Flags” Tell Tales About Global Nutrition & Health

A recent photo exhibit at the Sydney International Food Festival tells an interesting tale about culture, cuisine and by extension, health.

Whybin/TWBA, a cutting-edge Australian ad agency, reproduced flags of 18 different nations, using the foods most commonly associated with those nations in popular imagination.BrasilFoodFlagBrasil's flag created from passionfruit, pineapple, lime & banana leaf. (images by Whybin /TBWA)

Japan’s rising sun flag, for example, is represented as a circular slab of deep red maguro tuna, atop a bed of sushi rice. Vietnam’s flag features a slice of bright yellow starfruit in a field of maroon rambutans and lychees. India vast culinary heritage is represented by vibrant orange chicken tikka masala, atop a band of basmati rice, and a deep green strip of cheera thoran (spinach curry).

Brasil is all about the fruit: half a purple passionfruit atop a diamond slab of pineapple, centered on sliced limes and banana leaf. Italy is a vertical stripe of spaghetti, flanked by brilliant green basil and crimson tomatoes.

US FoodFlagUS flag created from frankfurters, buns, ketchup & mustard (Image by Whybin/TBWA)The UK’s Union Jack is rendered in red and blue jams on a scone spread with cream. France’s Tricoleur is done up in blue cheese, brie and red grapes.

What about Old Glory? The Aussie agency represented the Stars & Stripes with hot dogs, buns and mustard. Their own Australian flag was created as a meat pie.

Granted the artists were stereotyping, and constrained to food choices that matched the flags’ colors. Nonetheless, the exhibit manages to say a lot—without words-- about nutrition and health up and down the global food chain.

Taste a sampling of Whybin's "Food Flag" smorgasbord on Marvelous, a website that spotlights intriguing artwork and photography from around the world.

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