At present, there are around 23.4 million TikTok users in the UK and, on the app, the hashtag #FoodTikTok has over 188 billion views. It’s not surprising then that the content on the short-form video-sharing app is beginning to influence how we eat.
But just what trends are we seeing on TikTok and how are these changing consumers’ diets and eating habits?
TikTok, tell me where to eat!
While TikTok is best known to be a source of entertainment, it’s increasingly becoming a platform for education, even rivalling Google as a search engine for Gen Z. The snappy and visual nature of short-form video content makes it one of the best ways to find something tasty to eat.
Progressive Grocer reports that 53% of Gen Z’ers say that they find food inspiration on TikTok. This can come in the form of recipes, branded content and restaurant recommendations.
However, this trend does not stop with Gen Z. 38% of TikTok users across all generations — which equates to around 51.8 million diners — have visited or ordered from a restaurant after seeing a TikTok video about it (Nation’s Restaurant News).
TikTok’s suggestive content model and highly intelligent algorithm means that ‘anyone can go viral.’ Due to this, the content that can be found on the app when you search something like ‘places to eat in Birmingham’ will typically show videos from the average person. This reads as more authentic than the glossy or sponsored content from influencers you may find on other social media channels and more ‘off the beaten track’ than the over-saturated popular restaurants you may find when you search on Google.
But it’s not just customer review videos that are getting consumers to book tables, many restaurants are taking to their own TikTok channels to build their brand. One example is Urban Tandoor (@urbantandoorbristol on TikTok) who have gained a large following (136.1K) with their funny parody videos. Bristol Live reports that the eatery now has people travelling from all over the world to visit them.
While other social media platforms may shy away from posting multiple times a day, TikTok encourages it. This constant steam of content means that viewers are seeing more than ever from food creators. Research from Verve Market Research agency says that “TikTok is lifting the veil on how people actually cook, shop and eat.”
In the past, on platforms like Instagram and YouTube, viewers may have only seen a sophisticated high resolution recipe video. Nowadays, a TikTok creator is more likely to create a series of short videos. This could include budgeting, meal prep planning, the recipe itself and a round-up video which shows all their dinners that week.
This is shown in the abundance of “What I Eat in a Day” videos on TikTok, where, as you may have guessed, people simply document everything they ate that day. More recently, the trend of “Girl Dinner” had many TikTok users showing their mismatched, unrefined ‘dinners’ which usually consisted of an assortment of picky bits.
With many recipe videos on TikTok and an even larger number of viewers, getting your content to stand out amongst the rest can be a difficult task – enter experimental cooking.
There has been a rise in pages dedicated to experimental food. For example, @elburritomonster, who gained virality creating show-stopping burritos, has now progressed to inventing new pasta shapes like “The Bowlzagna’ – which, as the name suggests – is a bowl from lasagna and the ‘Burritoli’ – small burritos which are made from pasta (obviously!).
However, this has not just resulted in positive experimentation, with other equally viral, but arguably disgusting, recipe ‘hacks’ coming to light. One example is a video from creator @myjanebrain which teaches the viewer how to create ‘tacos’ by boiling the ingredients in a bag of Doritos.
However, if you’re a brand yourself and are looking to grab attention, we wouldn’t suggest throwing rationality to the wall. As brands, it’s important to remember that the video still needs to show your product in the best light and add value to our viewers.
We would recommend using your product in a new way. For instance, in a paid partnership between @mealswithmax and Doritos, the food influencer creates a full lunch using Doritos for his 2 million followers. This meal includes a Dorito-covered burrito with Dorito-covered chicken and mozzarella dippers. Not only does the video show the many uses of the savoury snack, but it is also attention-grabbing, gaining 27.3K likes and 8 million views!
To determine whether your ‘out-there’ foodie idea is worth getting your tripod out for, think about whether it has potential to add value to the watcher – if it’s shock value for the sake of it, put the ring down.
If you need some foodie video content of your own, our state-of-the-art development kitchen and in-the-know team are available. You can learn more about our services here and we’d love to hear from you!