Tik Tok Driving Trends For The Food Industry

October 26, 2021

For the most of us over the age of about 30 Tik Tok seems completely alien, you take short videos of yourself doing usually pretty stupid things to the sound of music.

But wait…. There’s more, you can also watch cats do stupid things.

No wait, there’s even more…For all the big foodies out there, Tik Tok is the place to be if you want to stay in the loop of the most up to date food trends, that all the cool kids are talking about.


What is Tik Tok Really? And Who Is on There?

At its most basic form, Tik Tok is a social media platform that focuses on allowing its users to create, share and discover short form video content. It really serves as creative space for users to create content that can quickly become a viral trend.

The user base is largely filled with Gen Z (16–24 year olds) although this is starting to change, as older generations start too jump on the platform too.

With around 1bn active users worldwide, and Ofcom stating the UK user base rose to 12.9m in April of 2021, it really is a powerhouse of a platform that has taken the social media world by storm. Just like how Instagram drove food trends through people posting pictures of their food, Tik Tok is doing the same through short form video content.

Basically, if you are a creative marketing individual, working in the FMCG industry, then Tik Tok is your wet dream.

How is Tik Tok Driving Food Trends?

Well although it has been going since the start, the lockdown has really been the key driver, as more of us were confined to being at home, home cooking became more popular.

Anyone remember the Dalgona coffee trend in 2020, for those missing that extra special iced coffee they used to buy before lockdown?

Well, it’s User Generated Content (UGC) like this that drives any kind of social media trend, and this trend alone saw a 1,700% increase in searches according to Google Trends, and 5000% on YouTube, making it the most searched coffee on the internet….be interesting to see what instant coffee sales looked like during that time.

Also according to the Grocery Gazette, a Waitrose report attributed Pesto sales doubling in May to a Tik Tok food hack trend of someone frying an egg in pesto, that drove over 12m views.

While Ocean Spray saw an 11% increase in sales of Cran-Raspberry and a 3% increase across the whole business, after Nathan Apodaca posted a video of him skateboarding while drinking it to the Fleetwood Mac song “Dreams”.

However, perhaps one of the most inspiring success stories comes from Little Moons, the Japanese ice cream treats saw over 304m views on Tik Tok sparking an insane demand for the product which saw people queuing in the hundreds and a massive nationwide sell-out boosting sales by over 2000%!

There are tons of these kinds of food trends happening all the time over on Tik Tok, the hashtag #foodhacks alone has over 3.2bn views on it, and it’s probably a safe bet to say quite a few of these people are giving these hacks a go themselves, meaning they need to buy the products to try it…. You see where I am going with this right?

But how can a food brand get involved with this kind of marketing?

How are Food brands capitalising on these trends?

The trick isn’t for food brands to just start pushing traditional adverts on the platform that link to this trend, oh no! Gen Z folk are not so easily swayed by the bright flashy lights and promises of riches that standard adverts bring to the table.

Instead bring on the Advertainment – brand content that is interesting to watch.

By utilising influencers, challenges, food hacks and other types of entertaining value driven content strategies that all ultimately aim at participation, a kind of ‘Simon Says’ copycat interaction.

This two-way communication allows food brands to not only drive sales, but also create vast communities of brand advocates who come back repeatedly, without feeling like they are being pressured to buy products.

Example – Chipotle

With over 1.3m followers, Chipotle knows how to do Tik Tok well.

They utilise a variety of different strategies within the Tik Tok platform that are super simple, but most of all give the users what they want, fun entertaining content that invites the user to join in.

They also are amazing at brand partnerships – Their super bowl challenge involving a whole host of influencers, saw them break engagement stats reaching 95m people and 2.5m engagements, and was far cheaper than paying for a 30sec commercial which costs around $5.6m!


To Conclude

Despite all these amazing stats, and how much more fun it is to create this type of content over blogs and guides and boring traditional adverts, so many brands are still not utilising the Tik tok platform and opportunities there, largely because so many brands just believe Tik tok doesn’t fit their audience or they don’t feel it matches their brand, but all the best marketers know, try it first then decide….but like really try it for at least 6 months.

At the end of the day, the proof is in the pudding and many food brands are killing it on Tik Tok, isn’t it time you did too.

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