Are TikTok Food Trends Changing the Landscape of the Food Industry?

Are TikTok Food Trends Changing the Landscape of the Food Industry?

Following recipes on TikTok allows users to connect with the world through food and try new and accessible recipes.

Users sharing foods from restaurants or personal recipes on social media is nothing new, but TikTok food trends are taking this phenomenon to another level. This week, the hashtag for “food” had amassed a whopping 268 billion views on the popular video sharing app, while “#recipes” and “#restaurant” garnered an impressive 9.1 billion and 6.9 billion, respectively.

Google’s top trending food searches in 2021 signaled a huge shift with searches stemming from TikTok food trends making up over half of the list, with TikTok feta pasta taking the number one spot. Grocery delivery service Instacart even recently introduced a product integration feature that allows consumers to order ingredients for delivery when they see a recipe on TikTok.

Though it’s easy to pass off the app as just another video sharing platform, it’s clear that there’s more to the story when it comes to the food industry. Due to the sheer popularity of TikTok food trends, food and beverage brands might want to start paying attention to ways they can engage with the app.

Related: How Online Food Trade Shows and E-Commerce Boosted the Food and Beverage Industry

Why TikTok Food Trends are So Popular

Food videos on TikTok range from grocery hauls to new restaurant finds to snack reviews. But one category that stands out among the pack is the recipe video. Many of the recipes tend to be simple and quick and make use of pantry staples or common ingredients. They also tend to be accessible to teens and young adults and don’t require any prior culinary knowledge or special equipment. 

Regardless of age, many social media users are looking for quick, easy, healthy meals that are also homemade and unique. TikTok delivers recipes that fulfill those needs in an easy-to-understand, visual format. Consequently, the app has given many consumers inspiration during a stressful time, making it a valuable creative outlet.

As consumers continue to look for connections to the world around them when it comes to cooking, participating in a TikTok food trend is an easy way to fulfill that connection.

Should Food Companies Invest in TikTok?

A 2021 study from marketing agency MGH found that 36 percent of TikTok users have visited or ordered food from a restaurant after seeing a TikTok video about the restaurant. The study also found 55 percent visited a restaurant from TikTok simply because the food looked appetizing. For restaurants, there is a clear avenue for exposure on the app, but for consumer packaged goods (CPG) brands, it’s not as straightforward.

Dalgona candy, for example, is a Korean street food that was featured on the popular Netflix series Squid Games in September 2021. By early October, articles were already being written about Dalgona candy trending on TikTok. By the following month, they were in bakeries everywhere. But now, the world has moved on. Due to the nature of the app, CPG brands might have a more difficult time trying to capture trends while they last.

Alternatively, brands can start engaging conversations about trending topics and food items, as well as partner with content creators and influencers. Doing this, however, requires a level of cultural awareness and understanding of how to effectively engage in these mediums. Since messaging is in the hands of consumers, the food industry must remain on its toes in order to capitalize on TikTok food trends.