Exploring TikTok's Influence on Supermarket Shopping Trends | Richmond & Towers
13th March | Eve Salmon back

From Aisles to Algorithms: Exploring TikTok’s Influence on Supermarket Shopping Trends

It’s no secret that we’re currently living through the age of social media, where platforms such as TikTok have become more than just entertainment hubs with viral dances and comedic skits — but now a powerful marketing influence that’s totally shaping consumer behaviours and trends, particularly in world of grocery trade.

TikTok has revolutionised supermarket shopping habits over the past 4 years, think Emily Mariko salmon bowls, Prime energy drinks, feta pasta… and it doesn’t look like that’s going to change anytime soon. So, let’s dig a little bit deeper into exactly how the doom-scrolling app has impacted our shopping experiences:

Viral to Aisle

A brand typically knows they’ve made it BIG when they secure a nationwide supermarket listing; but getting to that point is usually down a long, winding road of research, meetings, investments, and persistency. Yep, it’s not easy.

Unless of course, TikTok becomes your best friend.

Take spicy snack brand Takis, for example, who has recently secured its first major listing in Co-op stores nationwide, thanks to the power of Gen-Z shoppers. Takis have been popular in the US since 2006, however, trending recipe combos like Taki Cream Cheese Jalapeño’s, made a splash on For You Pages globally. Inevitably helping spread the desire to try the flaming hot Taki tortilla, and the desire for supermarket bosses to get the purple packaging onto their shelves.

Collaboration Inspiration

It’s clear from the previous Takis trend that TikTok has an appetite for weird and wonderful food combos. Which leads nicely onto the infamous Gigi Hadid Vodka Pasta

Millions of TiKTokker’s recreated and posted the supermodel’s retro inspired recipe to their own channels for millions more to watch – two of whom were retail giants Heinz and Absolut. The brands came together to develop a limited-edition range, sold exclusively in Waitrose, the Heinz x Absolut Tomato Vodka Pasta Sauce.

Who knew product development teams would be finding their big idea from scanning the depths of TikTok?

A Supermarket Sweep

It isn’t always new listings and NPD’s that have come about because of TikTok – sometimes going TikTok viral works wonders for brands that have been around for a while.

One that you might have fallen victim to yourself… two words, Little Moons.

Little Moons were reeling new Gen Z consumers in from the get-go; not only were they pastel coloured and squidgy textured with aesthetically pleasing packaging, but they gained a tonne of engagement from the micro-influencers and regular consumers who posted ‘taste test’ videos, both gifted and organic.

However, it was the the unintentional exclusivity of the product that really racked up the views. Rather than causing frustration with the limited stock levels, Little Moons managed to set a new trend, seeing fans documenting their never-ending search to bagging a box of their own.

Jumping on the Trend

It’s clearly a no-brainer for food and drink brands to jump on TikTok marketing to attract a new younger consumer. But what about the supermarkets themselves?

Well, one store has been a particular hit on the platform.

Marks & Spencer’s individual stores have entertained viewers up and down the country with hilarious lip syncs and dance trends on TikTok– all while on their shift. In 2021, M&S Romford jumped from 30,000 followers to 870,000 in a matter of months: inevitably increasing brand visibility to new customers and driving sales.

So, there you have it. To you, TikTok may be that silly app for 16-year-olds to scroll on mindlessly day-in-day out, but the platform shouldn’t be underestimated. TikTok is a formidable force in the realm of successful marketing campaigns. The platform has and will continue to reshape the way food and drink brands connect, captivate, and convert audiences in the digital age.

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