The rise of short-form video content on platforms like TikTok has been an interesting journey. Whilst the likes of Youtube strived for bigger, more in-depth content that is comparable to any Netflix documentary series, TikTok looked to make more bite-size, digestible content to fit the current zeitgeist. By 2020, TikTok was something of a phenomenon. Community-wide “Trends” were coming thick and fast. This kind of influence was absolutely unprecedented, only furthered by user’s need for escapism during the COVID-19 pandemic. There is a trend for everything – dance, music, fashion, you name it – but it’s the TikTok Food trends that are the most peculiar.
Whilst YouTube had Binging with Babish, Joshua Weissman and First We Feast, TikTok had an unlikely advantage: you – because anyone can be a cook on TikTok. The bite-sized video format allowed repeat viewings, with snappy editing and energetic narration to keep viewers engaged, whilst the recipes were simple to follow and easy to execute. Because of this, It’s certainly the right time to get chatting about TikTok and its influence.
The reasoning behind TikTok’s influence on food is a multifaceted one, one with many different angles and hot-takes. Whilst conducting research for this blogspot, I found that one of Tiktok’s most famous recipes…wasn’t actually of TikTok origin. Not that I’m debunking some huge internet myth, but it got me thinking – how many recipes are actually made by TikTok users? Why did TikTok users find the recipe so special? It’s just pasta.
It was then I realised – the recipes don’t matter. TikTok influencers seemed to have the power to take quite mundane and basic recipes and turn them into the next big thing. Presentation is all that really matters because of this. The influencer’s personalities, the sets they use, the music and the way the videos are shot and edited together. The amount of views and copycat versions of these videos stands as testament to how robust Tiktok’s video creation software is, anyone can use it and make outstanding videos that will capture the attention of millions.
Not to say that YouTube has absolutely no notable personalities on it’s platform. In fact, there’s a significant amount of crossover between TikTok and YouTube personalities. It’s arguable that TikTok owes a lot to YouTube creators, for setting the standard and paving the way for the TikTokers to come. YouTube still has over 2 billion monthly users, compared to TikTok’s 1 billion monthly users, so there’s still a long way to go for TikTok.
As a little experiment, I took it upon myself to recreate TikTok’s Feta Cheese Pasta Bake. Personally, I found it to be quite a tasty dish and easy to cook, it certainly lived up to the craze. It’s clear from just the recipe why TikTokers enjoyed taking part in making it, not to mention it being a fully vegetarian dish. You can learn more about my exploits making the dish in the video above.
I can safely say that there is an element of credibility in TikTok’s food trends. Having recreated their most popular trend, researched the origins of this dish and realising the true source of TikTok’s influence – the influencers, the people, you – it’s clear that TikTok has a hold on users like no other. Creation is at the heart of TikTok and there’s still a long journey ahead for the platform. The question is, what’s the next Tiktok food trend to change the world?