With media platforms like Vice labelling food Tiktok (or ‘Foodtok) as the “platform of the people”, it is hard to imagine a world where TikTok didn’t pave the way with cooking trends and hacks.
In the food world, Tiktok is being described as anti-Youtube. Instead of following a 30-minute tutorial on dishes with tips from professional chefs, Tiktok provides an innovative approach that simply includes 30 seconds of instructions from an iPhone camera. The production behind Youtube videos with influencer chefs, lighting and several takes seems redundant in a world where consumers enjoy the quick, amateur vibe emanating from the upcoming food stars.
As a student, it is difficult to avoid embracing the TikTok food trends for endless reasons. It mostly comes down to the fact that my social media feeds are bombarded with reviews of the snacks, which consequently causes curiosity to try them out myself and understand the popularity. It also comes from a place of student laziness when it comes to cooking as the recipes are accessible for any ability and often time efficient.
The reign of Youtube chefs has not been toppled yet
Take the infamous Feta Pasta Bake for example, which soared to such heights of popularity in 2020 that it is rumoured to have caused a shortage of feta cheese in Finland. The original video was published by @Feelgoodfoodie on Tiktok but has since been adopted by countless other amateur chefs and teenagers around the world. A recipe as simple as feta cheese, tomatoes, garlic, oregano, pasta, and basil is as basic as they come. So, we must ask the question, how did feta pasta back become so revolutionary? The conclusion: the power of TikTok.
Although exact figures on the TikTok phenomenon are difficult to specify, the social media platform boasts over one billion active monthly users across the world and is expected to reach the 10 million user mark by the end of 2021 from a UK audience alone. As impressive as these figures are for a young platform like TikTok, it is abundantly obvious we are only seeing its development stages where less-known influencers can emerge as popular without being overshadowed by the monopoly of influencers that dominate other social media.
However, it cannot be denied that the reign of Youtube chefs has not been toppled yet. Some Youtube channels and creators have been a permanent fixture in young adults’ lives throughout their childhood and this intense following does not appear to be waning anytime soon. With their screens filled with the likes of Epic Meal Time, a group of Canadian friends whose videos often involve outrageous dishes and lots of humour or Binging with Babish where viewers have been able to follow the channel from as early as 2006 and enjoy the aesthetically pleasing videos.
Youtube chefs paved the way for the same theme
FoodTok stars have risen to quasi-fame on the backs of viral trends, like Poppy O’Toole (@poppycooks) who has gained a following of 1.5 million and a book deal with Bloomsbury in just over a year. She gained traction originally from the creation of ‘potato TikTok’ with her viral video of 15-hour potatoes, stimulating 1.7 million likes and inspiring the 100 million times viewed hashtag #potatotiktok. O’Toole explained to The Guardian: “Potatoes are accessible for whatever skill level you’re at.”
Looking at both FoodTube and FoodTok, there is evidence of similarities of course. The Youtube chefs paved the way for the same theme of the new social media platform, it has just been adopted by new creators. The 30-second time limit allows for less production and therefore perfection, leading to these amateur videos which engage the watcher. However, it is impossible to deny that FoodTube has created some amazing communities of followers that will not disappear.
There is a reason behind the long-lasting popularity of FoodTube and it lies in the creativity and ability to engage an audience that has not been tested on FoodTok yet. The race to be the top platform for food video creators is on and you cannot help but be excited about what the competition will bring.