Instagram, as a picture-oriented social media platform, draws an increasing number of young users to share food-related experiences that can have an impact on their food consumption. Understanding the potential power of different hashtags as applied to food images can help organizations in the healthy food sector create successful strategies that will attract and improve users’ preference for healthy food. The goal of the current study is to explore the role of the most prominent food-related #hashtags on Gen Z’s preference for healthy food. This research also explores whether individual factors such as gender and health consciousness have an impact on how food hashtags are perceived. With an initial sample of one hundred Gen Z Instagram users, we explore six of the most popular food-related hashtags on Instagram: #food, #foodporn, #foodie, #foodsgram, #healthyfood, and #instafood. Preliminary analysis reveals that compared with other hashtags, food portrayed under the #healthyfood hashtag is perceived to be more enjoyable, more beautiful, and healthier. This is consistent with research on the experiential side of food consumption where pleasure is identified as an important factor for individuals who are concerned about their health. According to Jin et al. (2017), hedonic consumption is highly valued by customers who care about their health. When customers experience the pleasure effects from the food they consume, they may be willing to pay more for healthy foods (Jin et al., 2017). Our results also reveal gender and health-consciousness differences in the perception of different food hashtags. Gen Z Instagram users who are more health-conscious are more likely to be satisfied with the #healthyfood vs. #instafood hashtag. In terms of gender, females think images under the #healthyfood hashtag are healthier and may help them to lose weight, whereas #foodie is regarded as the least healthy. Males, on the other hand, believe the #foodie hashtag to be healthier. This is the first study, to our knowledge, that explores the impact of different hashtags on Gen Z’s perception of food on Instagram. The current study contributes to the understanding of the role of Instagram and hashtags in promoting healthy food choices among young consumers.