From Famous Feta Pasta to Viral Vegan ‘Chicken’: We take a look back at TikTok food trends and predict the next big thing

From Famous Feta Pasta to Viral Vegan ‘Chicken’: We take a look back at TikTok food trends and predict the next big thing

Are you on TikTok yet? You might just think that it’s an app loved by Gen Z and famed for its ability to create chart topping hits and viral dances, but since its rapid ascent to prominence, TikTok has become the place to go for the latest food trends. Not only does TikTok have the uncanny ability to sell-out products in a matter of seconds (think Little Moons), it’s also a breeding ground for viral recipes, making it a powerful tool for F&B brands and content creators alike. We take a look back at our favourite foodie trends from the last year, and predict what could be the next big thing.

Previous TikTok food trends and why they trended:

Dalgona Coffee – Let us transport you back to the first lockdown, when the whole world shutting down was still somewhat of a novelty. In the UK the sun was shining and thousands of people were furloughed, with little to do but watch the news and hoard toilet paper. Coffee lovers were suddenly cut off from their beloved flat whites, making do instead with Tesco’s Finest instant granules. Then came Dalgona Coffee, first originating in South Korea, the trend took hold in the UK like wildfire as it used very few ingredients, and let’s be honest, looked great on the ‘gram.

Why did it trend?It used ingredients everyone had in their cupboard and it felt like a novelty. The timing was also spot on, the trend surfaced at a time when everyone was getting busy in the kitchen but baking supplies were scarce.

Banana BreadA bake that has become synonymous with lockdown life, will we ever view this humble loaf cake in the same way again? Possibly not. It’s popularity was driven by TikTok, with thousands of variations posted on the app everyday. 

Why did it trend? There’s something comforting and familiar about banana bread, a familiarity which people found themselves craving in such strange times. Fueled by the popularity of the ‘cottagecore’ aesthetic which is so popular on TikTok, the cake is easy to make, feels wholesome and uses up those bananas that you swore you’d eat. 

Feta Pasta Fast forward to lockdown 2.0 and we find ourselves in the realm of the feta pasta. This dish was all over the internet and for a few weeks it felt like it was impossible to avoid the Greek-inspired comfort food. Sales of feta spiked by 117% in the second week of February (Instacart), with basil and tomato sales not far behind. 

Why did it trend? – Making the dish feels more like a craft project than a recipe, it couldn’t be simpler but it has a high impact, both visually and in its flavour. Comfort is also key to the success of the feta pasta; it burst onto the scene during the tail end of a long, lonely winter for the UK with its vibrant colours and indulgent yet simple ingredients, meaning it ticked all the boxes.

Vegan ‘Chicken’ Last but not least for our trend roundup is vegan chicken, a.k.a. seitan, the faux meat made from flour (or vital wheat gluten). This viral recipe is probably the most complicated to make out of the 4, but its ingredients are still super simple. Although for many vegans, seitan has long been a part of their regular diet, many TikTok users couldn’t believe it as what essentially is a dough turned into shreddable, carvable ‘chicken’ right before their eyes. 

Why did it trend? Many TikTok users tried it because they didn’t quite believe it was possible to make something that looked so meaty from just 2 ingredients. Plus, the rise in popularity of veganism means seitan and tofu recipes are finally having their moment in the limelight. Vegans rejoice!

Future Trend Predictions:

Most TikTok food trends have a few things in common; they’re easy to make, require minimal/accessible ingredients, are unpretentious, visually appealing and can be explained in 60 seconds or less. The demographic who use TikTok the most are Gen Z, who famously have an 8 second attention span, meaning recipes posted on the app need to hook the user in immediately, whether this is through the meaty texture of seitan, the bright colours of feta pasta or the whipped peaks of Dalgona coffee. 

So, what’s the next big thing for TikTok food trends? Here are a few of our predictions. 

• Lesser known cultures celebrated through food – Unlike Instagram, TikTok is a democratic platform, allowing videos to go viral without large followings. This means lesser known dishes from a wider range of cultures can be discovered.

• Tofu is going to have a big moment – move over seitan, there’s a new protein in town. Tofu has already started to gain popularity on TikTok, with users finding ways to make it ‘meaty’ and convert tofu haters.

Chickpeas are the new cauliflower – Cauliflower had a huge glow up in 2019/2020, but 2021 is the year of the chickpea. Versatile, cheap and accessible, these are all the ingredients needed for this legume to become a viral star.


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