I’m a Millennial-Gen Z cusper who hates TikTok food trends — here’s why

I’m a Millennial-Gen Z cusper who hates TikTok food trends — here’s why

  • TikTok has become a global phenomenon for lip syncing, dance challenges, and more.
  • However, even as a young person, I’ve found an issue with TikTok’s food trends.
  • Many trends are more of a fad than a phenomenon, and I worry some promote harmful diet culture.
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

I was born in the late 1990s, which means I fall right on the cusp of Generation Z and the Millennial generation. I love and relate to many Gen-Z trends, including middle hair parts, wide-legged jeans, and a love of social media.

One social media platform in particular, however, has never really captivated me: TikTok.

TikTok can be good for a laugh or to keep up with the latest fashion trends. However, the food community on TikTok has frankly been nothing but offputting to me.

At the start of the pandemic, my social media feeds were filled with people posting photos and videos of their creamy Dalgona coffee. It became so overhyped that I felt like I had to try it and see what the fuss was about. I was pretty disappointed to find it tasted like cheap

instant coffee

Then, in late February and throughout the month of March, I found my “for you” page inundated with video after video of the same recipe: the beloved yet overshared feta and tomato pasta. It became so annoying that I started complaining to my friends about my gripes with the app. I soon realized we had similar complaints about TikTok food trends.

Here’s why I hate TikTok food trends.

TikTok food trends like Dalgona coffee took off at the start of the pandemic but have since faded in popularity — proving many are just fads

dalgona coffee

Dalgona coffee.


If a trend is truly incredible, it should stick around. However, most TikTok food trends see their 15 minutes of fame and then disappear just as quickly as they arrive. 

According to GoogleTrends data, search queries for “Dalgona coffee” peaked in late March and early April 2020. Shortly after, searches for the frothy coffee drink steeply declined, and now search queries for the treat have essentially flatlined.

The same can be said for the TikTok-famous feta and tomato pasta. Searches for “feta pasta” were completely stagnant and then peaked in mid-February 2021, at the height of the trend’s popularity on the app. However, in the weeks following, search interest fell drastically. 

The question remains: are people actually learning new recipes they’ll use time and time again, or are they just hopping onto the bandwagon?

A lot of the biggest trends on TikTok, like the famous feta and tomato pasta, are already well-established recipes

feta tomato pasta

Feta and tomato baked pasta dish.


When the feta pasta first emerged on TikTok, it was already a readily available recipe on the internet.

According to Today, Finnish food blogger Jenni Häyrinen originally created the recipe in 2019, which she called Uunifetapasta

After Häyrinen shared her recipe, it took off among bloggers and influencers in Finland, even leading to a feta shortage, she said.

Many of the food trends and recipes you’ll find on TikTok don’t give credit to the original source

It’s unknown how Häyrinen’s recipe got picked up on TikTok, but it has exposed the Finnish recipe to cooks worldwide.

However, many cooks recreating Häyrinen’s may not know its origins — or provide the blogger with the credit she deserves. While people recreating the recipe at home doesn’t seem to bother the originator of the uunifetapasta, she has asked people to credit her if they do.

“The #uunifetapasta fever is global and I’m so happy for it bringing joy to peoples’ lives in these times,” Häyrinen wrote on her blog. “If you share my baked feta pasta recipe on TikTok or Instagram, I would be over the moon if you can credit the original creator of the viral recipe.”

Some recipes taking off on TikTok, like the so-called ‘nature’s cereal,’ can promote diet culture

There’s nothing wrong with finding a new, delicious, and even healthy recipe on social media. However, I worry that what may come across as a harmless “food hack” could actually be harmful and promote diet culture.

Insider spoke to Rachael Hartley, a registered dietitian, nutritionist, and owner of Rachael Hartley Nutrition who specializes in promoting intuitive eating and non-diet approaches to eating and enjoying food, about the “nature’s cereal” TikTok trend and whether it can truly be considered “healthy.”

The hack, which even celebrities like Lizzo have been sharing with their millions of followers, involves mixing a bowl of fruit with coconut water and ice cubes to replace traditional breakfast cereals.

“Certainly, ‘nature’s cereal,’ or watered-down fruit salad as I like to call it, is perfectly nutritious,” Hartley said. “Fruit is packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber, and coconut water provides electrolytes.”

However, Hartley said she “would not consider it a healthy choice.” 

“The healthfulness of a food choice has to do with so much more than nutrition,” she explained. “Frankly, it feels incredibly restrictive, especially if someone is eating it as their entire breakfast. As a meal, it’s inadequate in energy, protein, and fat, and you’ll very likely feel ravenously hungry not long after eating!”

While trends like “nature’s cereal” may seem harmless, they can actually create a harmful dialogue around the original foods. Hartley said “the implication that there’s something wrong with cereal” is the real problem with this TikTok food trend. 

“Trends like ‘nature’s cereal’ create guilt and shame around eating actual cereal, because there’s this implication that what you should be eating is a bowl of fruit with coconut water,” she said.

Hartley recommended that when scrolling through TikTok or Instagram, it’s “worth considering if the recipe seems like it’s actually enough food for a meal.” 

“If it feels like something you’ll be hungry 5 minutes after eating, it’s probably best to pass,” she said. 

TikTok food trends can be fun to try — I just don’t want to see them every time I open the app

If you want to try out the latest cooking trend taking over the internet, by all means, do so. Personally, I could just do with fewer posts about them.

And when it comes to the healthiness of these recipes, I wish we’d remember that everyone has different tastes and diets, so promoting so-called “healthy” recipes should be avoided, or captioned with a disclaimer, unless they’ve been vetted by a professional.

For now, I’m going to stick with getting my recipes from my favorite celebrity chefs, independent food bloggers, and cookbooks.

Maybe hating TikTok food trends makes me a grumpy Millennial, but that’s a label I’m willing to bear.

Published at Wed, 31 Mar 2021 14:04:44 +0000

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Written by Riel Roussopoulos


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I’m a Millennial-Gen Z cusper who hates TikTok food trends — here’s why