As you might have already heard, Kim Kardashian is the new “chief taste consultant” for Beyond Meat. The brand-new position was announced via a sponsored video on her Instagram account. As a press release sent to The Takeout explains, in her new role, “Kim will highlight the brand’s delicious, nutritious and sustainable product portfolio with her signature recipes and engaging creative content.” It’s a tough job, but someone’s got to do it.
In the video announcement, Kim K can be seen posing with a series of Beyond Meat products: picking up half a Beyond burger, forking a plant-based meatball, squeezing lime over some Beyond tacos, dipping a meatless nugget in sauce. Kardashian “mmms” throughout the ad spot, and even appears to be chewing food in a few shots, but many people on the internet were quick to call out that she never actually takes a bite throughout the entire video.
In fact, if you look at all the food Kim picks up throughout the commercial (with the possible exception of the nuggets), each food item looks perfect… too perfect. The most egregious act of fake eating is with the plant-based burger. Kim Kardashian holds up a perfectly sliced burger half, chewing as if she’s taken a bite—but there’s no visible bite taken out of the burger at all.
It would be easy to make fun of Kim for her bad acting or scold Beyond Meat for allowing such a terrible ad, but there might be a few production-related reasons for Kim’s fakery.
When celebrities don’t actually eat the food they pretend to eat on camera, it can be easy to assume one of three things: either the food is an inedible prop, the celebrity doesn’t actually like the food they’re promoting and the whole thing is a pure money grab, or the celebrity’s strict adherence to a particular diet means they can’t actually eat the food they’re promoting. However, there are some other reasons that celebs might not be chowing down on set, ones that have little to do with the particular celebrity, their diet, or the food itself.
Any professional video shoot requires lots and lots of takes in which performers do the same thing over and over again, and all those takes can add up to a ton of food being consumed.
Case in point: John Cena ate 31 empanadas in one day to film a single scene for the 2021 action movie The Suicide Squad. This is a perfect example of why actually eating the food in every take is a bad idea. Cena’s character, Peacemaker, loves empanadas, and so rather than half-ass it with little nibbles, Cena chose to eat an entire empanada in one go. But it was a complicated shot that required 31 takes, resulting in 31 empanadas consumed. Needless to say, Cena did not feel great at the end of that day of shooting. And a lot of empanadas exited his system very quickly.
I love food and am a big fan of empanadas, but depending on the size and weight of those bad boys, I’d have to draw the line at five. Unfortunately, a director can’t draw the line there, so it’s often best to fake it with food.
Whether you’re filming a 30-second advertisement or a full-length feature, achieving perfect continuity throughout every scene is a difficult task, and when you add food to the mix it can get even trickier.
Take, for example, the 2001 movie Ocean’s Eleven. It’s a running gag that Brad Pitt’s character, Rusty, is seen eating throughout the entire film which obviously presented some continuity challenges that ended up making their way into the final cut of the movie. Both BuzzFeed and MovieMistakes.com note a scene in which Rusty is speaking to another character (Linus, played by Matt Damon) while eating shrimp cocktail from a bowl. A second later the camera angle changes and suddenly Brad Pitt has a plate in his hand instead.
When you think about the way commercials get spliced together in the final cut to pack a lot of information into 30 seconds of screen time, it’s easy to understand how difficult it is to assemble a cut where the bites taken out of a burger remain consistent.
Professional makeup artists sometimes spend hours getting their subjects camera ready—so just imagine all that hard work getting smudged up after one big chomp into a plant-based cheeseburger.
Here we turn things back to the Kardashians, who are notorious for eating in the weirdest way possible just to avoid ruining their full beat. I can’t say I blame them, because if my makeup cost anywhere near as much as theirs I’d be eating teeth-first like Squidward taking his first nibble of a Krabby Patty, too. The point here is that in order to avoid smudging lipstick, getting food in one’s teeth, or transferring foundation onto the bun, a person would need to bite into their meal in a very unnatural way that likely wouldn’t look great on camera. And looking great on camera is the whole point.