Instacart Data Explores TikTok's Influence On Grocery Shopping Habits

We all know TikTok has a way of sparking viral trends, particularly when it comes to sharing recipes, suggesting meals, and doling out general cooking advice. Scroll through video after video, and you'll likely encounter a hard-boiled egg slicing hack or at least one variation of the butter board trend. Finding weeknight dinner inspiration has never been so easy.

This year's top #FoodTok trends include that aforementioned butter board as well as cloud bread, which can be made with eggs, cream cheese, and cream of tartar (via CNBC). Also on the list? Baked oats — which amassed roughly 1.3 billion views on the app — pasta chips, charcuterie boards, and birria tacos among others.

While TikTok has undeniably set off certain food crazes, how does that translate to the market — or impact shopping carts? Instacart recently published data that analyzes the ways in which food trends on the social media platform are actually affecting shoppers and their consumption tendencies. The grocery delivery company previously suggested that TikTok is one of the trends that have changed food forever, highlighting the app's ability to boost sales of ingredients used in recipes that have gone viral.

The latest data from Instacart, however, suggests that not all trendy food videos have this effect. 

Not all viral TikTok food videos have a tangible impact

Instacart's report "2022 Delivered: Did Anyone Actually 'Cart' That #FoodTok Recipe?" explores whether viral TikTok videos actually impacted grocery shopping habits. The company assessed this by comparing the views of 20 popular recipes on the social media app with its purchase data for items related to these recipes — including viral meals like baked feta pasta and cocktails like the Negroni sbagliato. What was 2022 #FoodTok without those?

The findings suggest that some, but not all, videos had a correlation with shopping transactions. During the baked feta pasta craze, for example, the recipe's signature ingredients — feta cheese, cherry tomatoes, and pasta — were bought at a rate 4.6 times higher than normal. Likewise, the Negroni sbagliato fared well during its viral peak. The most-watched video related to the drink received almost 32 million views. During the beverage's heyday in October, Instacart users were 2.2 times more likely to buy its related ingredients.

Other TikTok sensations, however, didn't have the same success. Butter boards may have gone viral, but Instacart's data indicates the trend had little impact on shopping patterns. The same can be said about pesto eggs, pasta chips, and other popular recipes that the grocery delivery company deemed "All Sizzle, No Steak."

Given the varied findings of the report, TikTok fame may not always correspond with actual influence. Or, at least, #FoodTok's influence isn't even across the board... even if that board is made with butter.