My apologies for resurrecting this thread from last month but there were a couple of things I wanted to add but was too busy to make my brain work properly.
I agree with what a lot of people have said, namely that convincing/appealing food is probably one of the hardest things to get right. I also get what Jaco is saying about shooting and retouching being the better/faster/cheaper option in most cases and this is true, especially when you need to match a specific product.
However, more often that not you're being asked to create something that needs to look 'photo-real' but would also be extremely time consuming (or impossible) to create in the real world. A convincing jar of honey is one thing, a bear made from honey something else.
SSS and the general speed increases in rendering refractive and transmissive materials have helped a lot but convincing liquids or porous objects are still a real challenge.
Originally Posted by ThE_JacO
BTW, Sponges are actually not that hard to do volumetrically. Rather easy in fact.
I think this could be something that could be application specific but currently with the tools I/we use this is still really hard to achieve. You can cheat the look of sponge with SSS but creating a volumetric shader or surface that holds up to close scrutiny is still a huge pain, for me at least