Does #FoodTok actually try viral recipes? It depends on the dish.

By 12/09/2022
Does #FoodTok actually try viral recipes? It depends on the dish.

If your TikTok algorithm is anything like mine, your For Your Page is inundated with amateur chefs, unique recipes, and ideas for your leftovers. #FoodTok, as the foodie side of the app is known, is among TikTok’s top categories.

#FoodTok’s most-watched clips gather millions of views, but do they inspire viewers to recreate the recipes they see? According to Instacart, the results are inconclusive. The company known for its eponymous shopping app measured the retail impact achieved by various #FoodTok trends. In some cases, viewers rushed to Instacart to order the ingredients for a memetic recipe. Other buzzy eats stayed on the feed rather than making it into shopping carts.

Instacart’s report is based around a phenomenon it called the “Baked Feta Effect,” in reference to a viral pasta dish that exploded on TikTok last year. As baked feta pasta made its rounds across the internet, shoppers added its ingredients to their Instacart orders. During the peak of the recipe’s popularity, it appeared in 4.6 times more Instacart orders than normal, and supermarkets faced feta shortages.


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Butter boards received tons of traction on TikTok earlier this year, but the elegant spreads proved too fussy to qualify for the Baked Feta Effect. Instacart did not see a major spike for butter board products on the heels of that trend, which suggests that #FoodTok is as practical as it is food-obsessed.

Among trendy #FoodTok hits, factors like price, ease, and nutritional value did more to drive purchases than raw viewership. @bakedbymelissa’s green goddess salad wasn’t the most-watched TikTok recipe of 2022, but Instacart ranked its order spike as the biggest one of the year.

@bakedbymelissa Answer @ieshaworthen__ The OG Green Goddess🌿 #vegan #bakedbymelissa #saladrecipe #greengoddess #salad #cooking ♬ original sound – Baked by Melissa

“Our survey found that 56% of those who view food and recipe content on social media factor in affordability when considering making a recipe they viewed, and 49% factor in already having most of the ingredients at home,” said Instacart Trends Expert Laurentia Romaniuk. “Most of the time and especially now in this economy, a recipe is less likely to take off if it has an extensive list of ingredients that can rack up a hefty bill. In 2023, we’ll see new food trends emerge that are conducive to budget meals — many of which will prioritize common pantry and fridge staples.”

Instacart’s data comes straight from the source. In March, the app debuted an integration with TikTok that allows viewers to order ingredients directly from the videos they watch.

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