hether or not you’ve tried it, TikTok’s feta pasta has become an Internet sensation overnight. The recipe itself is fairly simple — baking cherry tomatoes and a hunk of feta in the oven until it’s mashable, and mixing in fresh pasta directly to the pan. Although the original recipe was created years ago by a chef in Finland, TikTok has brought a resurgence of popularity to the dish, sparking conversations about how TikTok treats food, chefs and recipes. However, instead of writing off the feta pasta as another viral trend, TikTok did something unexpected — they leaned into it.
Why is food content so popular on TikTok?
No matter how you look at it, food plays a large role in our cultures and communities, and provides an accessible way to learn about others and try new things.
From Korean American recipes to celebrate the Lunar New Year to the four-sided quesadilla trick, TikTok has given people the platform to share their personal, cultural and historical experiences with others through food — tapping into a massive network of people interested in food-related content.
While food can appear to be a recipe at face-value, it can also communicate years of history through technique, ingredients and more — filling hashtags like #learnontiktok with valuable information from other cultures about food. Add in the combination of short, instructional recipe videos with the additional constraint of a global pandemic, and it makes sense that more people are looking for new foods to make at home.
What does this mean for TikTok?
Once TikTok noticed the food vertical taking off on the platform, they started creating new ways for users to interact with food-related videos. As of 2021, TikTok has announced a partnership with the company Whisk that will give users the ability to access and save recipe cards that correspond to the food content they watch. Although the saving feature takes place on Whisk, users will be able to access it through TikTok — making it a seamless integration that will enhance user experience through ease of use.
By keeping all of your interests in one place, TikTok is able to capitalize on the virality of food content such as the feta pasta, while adapting to the growing needs of its audience. It also allows users to share their food-related content in a more long-lasting way. By saving recipes that you want to make, users will be able to more clearly identify and support the creators whose food aligns with their interests.
What does this mean for marketers and advertisers?
TikTok continues to create new ways for brands to communicate with their audiences, while recognizing and meeting the needs of its users. Knowing that TikTok will upgrade its platform to benefit its users shows the power of virality, but also the power of knowing your audience.
For the food niche in particular, the partnership with Whisk opens the door for collaborations on many different levels: food brands can create long-lasting relationships with creators that use similar ingredients, chefs can share the specific culinary items they use to create dishes with their audiences, and users can save that information for later. Once you identify where your brand falls in that process, you can determine how to seamlessly integrate into the fold – and how to properly connect with your desired audience.
TikTok runs on authentic interactions with others, and food TikTok presents a pretty cool opportunity for brands to get creative.