The 12 Worst TikTok Food Trends of 2022

The 12 Worst TikTok Food Trends of 2022

This year, the TikTok algorithm brought us plenty of culinary "inspiration" we wish we'd never seen.

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When a social media platform has 1 billion users, each of them generating posts every single day, you learn to take the bad with the good—and nowhere is that truer than TikTok, whose short-form videos are the perfect way to learn about genius cooking hacks and horrific cuisine in equal measure.

Though we found a whole lot of great food content on TikTok in 2022 (all of which can be found here), this year also saw the rise of recipes, products, and tips that make life objectively worse for us all. Read on for the top 10 worst FoodTok trends of 2022.

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Pink Sauce

Pink Sauce

What the fuck is pink sauce?” That’s the main question we had after seeing this rosy condiment pop up online. Pink Sauce was created earlier this year by TikTok user @chef.pii, who featured it in many promotional videos. The sauce gained viral fame despite the lack of clarity on its ingredients, and some people who allegedly ordered the product claim it made them sick, thanks to being shipped without proper refrigeration. For all the drama, though, Pink Sauce is now commercially available: A recent partnerhsip with Dave’s Gourmet all but guarantees this oddly colored condiment will carry on into 2023.

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DoorDash scams

DoorDash scams

Selling Frozen Pizzas From Walmart on DoorDash (via: cadenboof/ig)

In a majorly viral video from September, TikTok user @cadenboof claims to have started a ghost kitchen out of his house called Boof Pizza, perhaps inspired by similar internet trolls that came before. The pizza shown in the video is actually just DiGiorno purchased at Walmart, microwaved, and slapped in a new box; the “Boof Pizza” was then allegedly sold on DoorDash as if it came from a ghost kitchen.

Although we determined that this alleged side hustle is only a stunt for internet attention, that didn’t stop TikTok users from viewing the con more than 7 million times. Overall, this is just a dumb prank that doesn’t need to be attempted again—there are enough real scams happening on the apps as it is.

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The Chipotle taco hack

The Chipotle taco hack

A perfect example of the blessing and the curse of viral TikToks: the Chipotle taco hack. Some users figured out that by ordering a single taco through the Chipotle mobile app, then ordering an extra tortilla and a bunch of condiments on the side at a minimal added cost (rice, beans, fajita veggies, salsa, guac), you could construct a full-sized burrito for about $4, or roughly half the cost of a typical Chipotle burrito.

The potential savings of this ordering method made this TikTok trend truly worthy of the word “hack.” Unfortunately, Chipotle caught wind of the scheme and discontinued the ability to order tacos on its app. We just can’t have nice things, at least not when FoodTok gets hold of them.

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Tajín and Chamoy Pop-Tarts

Tajín and Chamoy Pop-Tarts

An out-of-the box flavor combination designed to rack up views on the internet is nothing new, and in the case of Tajín and Pop-Tarts, we saw what happens when those combos fall flat. To capitalize on trending interest in both brands, Pop-Tarts partnered with Tajín to distribute promotional kits to influencers that included Tajín seasoning, Tajín Fruity Chamoy sauce, and three flavors of Pop-Tarts: Wild Berry, Strawberry, and Peach Cobbler. Though none of the flavor combos were bad enough to induce a spit-take moment, this brand partnership probably shouldn’t continue on into 2023. (Peach Cobbler Pop-Tarts, though? Those can stick around forever.)

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NyQuil chicken

NyQuil chicken

Do not poach chicken in NyQuil. Do not poach chicken in NyQuil. Do not poach chicken in NyQuil. The mere fact that such a disclaimer must be made should be enough to demonstrate why this viral FoodTok trend was so cursed. TikTok user @systemofaclown69 posted two videos showing themselves creating the dish by opening up a package of chicken, then cooking it in a saucepan full of NyQuil. The dangers associated with this “dish” are numerous, and user @tilscience breaks down a few of them in the video above. Let’s not revisit this idea next cold and flu season.

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The $2 Chipotle bean burrito hack

The $2 Chipotle bean burrito hack

Just $2 for a bean and cheese burrito from Chipotle? That sounds too good to be true. As it turned out, it was.

“Order a pinto bean (extra beans) and cheese burrito at Chipotle they charge it as 2 sides it’s literally $1.94 and it slaps,” TikTok user @hannahhuts explained in a viral video, exciting people around the nation who always seem to be looking for a way to game Chipotle’s ordering system.

When we tried this hack for ourselves, it somehow ended up costing the full $8.60. Not only that, but the “burrito” wasn’t particularly enjoyable either, since Chipotle’s pinto beans are surprisingly underseasoned. They were saved somewhat by the cheese, but saving money isn’t worth it when you’re left with such little flavor.

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#GutHealth

#GutHealth

It’s been said many times by many people, but once again: Do not believe everything you see on the internet, specifically when it comes to health advice on TikTok. The latest “health”-focused TikTok trend to darken our feeds was #GutTok. That is, videos in which influencers ranking their top probiotics, TikDoctors explaining what IBS is, and a sea of before-and-after videos of bloated stomachs.

Although likely well-intentioned, much of the advice coming from this corner of TikTok will likely do more harm than good to your body. If you don’t want to spend hours of your day rushing to the toilet, we suggest cutting #GutTok from your consumption in the new year.

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Dirty Shirley

Dirty Shirley

The Shirley Temple is one of the most famous mocktails, but nothing is truly sacred on TikTok, is it? Rather than leave this sweet, syrupy drink for the children, the TikTok community said “fuck them kids.” Thus, the Dirty Shirley—containing Sprite, grenadine, maraschino cherries, and vodka—was born. This hangover-inducing concoction received over 6 million views on TikTok, but we promise you there are better, less sweet cocktail options out there for grown adults.

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The Six Flags Meal Plan

The Six Flags Meal Plan

Call it gatekeeping if you want, but perhaps the only way to ensure that certain “life hacks” continue to work is by keeping them off the internet entirely. The Six Flags unlimited meal plan, a season pass upgrade that let Six Flags guests enjoy unlimited park food, saw its demise almost as soon as the big mouths on TikTok blabbed about what a steal it was. After multiple TikTok personalities bragged about the money they saved by eating all their meals at the park using the plan, the Six Flags dining areas were flooded with people, rendering the deal unprofitable.

Reps for the theme park announced the end of the deal by explaining that it was “ripe for abuse” and “making the park experience worse for families.” TikTok ruins everything.

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Vacuum sealing with a straw

Vacuum sealing with a straw

Hacks are supposed to make day-to-day tasks easier. This trick for vacuum sealing food technically does that, but it’s not the safest or most sanitary option. If you don’t own a device that will vacuum seal food for you, this trick advises you stick a straw in a Ziploc bag full of food, suck as much air out of the bag through the straw as possible, and then remove the straw and seal off the bag.

There’s just no way to avoid at least some of the billions of bacteria in your mouth from escaping onto the food via this “hack.” Plus, there’s also the possibility of getting yourself sick by inhaling certain bacteria coming off raw, uncooked foods. Ultimately this is a trick that looks kind of cool, and that’s about it.

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Espresso and orange juice

Espresso and orange juice

Adding to the odd flavor combinations popularized on TikTok in 2022, we have orange juice and espresso, a drink we can do without. A post by TikToker @bundaddy first thrust this breakfast beverage into the spotlight, but just because a drink looks cool in a TikTok video does not make it delicious IRL. Like toxic romantic partners, these two liquids bring out the worst in each other. Once they settle into a single blended mixture, the orange juice becomes bitter and the espresso is so acidic that it’s virtually undrinkable. This is another trend that can stay in 2022.

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Cultural appropriation

Cultural appropriation

Here’s a lesson many food influencers could stand to learn: Give credit where it’s due. As with many of the tips, trends, and hacks mentioned above, most of the stuff that goes viral on TikTok is not invented by the users who post it, and because social media lets us disseminate information so easily, the originators of a given cuisine are often erased in the process.

Although Latinx food is was what earned this phenomenon a spot on the list, the appropriation of all sorts of cuisines on TikTok means that influencers are profiting off of “their recipes” that are in fact dishes from communities that have been historically marginalized. On the bright side, the solution to this issue is quite simple: In 2023, let’s hope members of FoodTok understand the influence they have and make an effort to educate themselves before posting, rather than passing off these dishes as their own.

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