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The Great Feta Shortage

Two years ago Finnish food blogger Jenni Häyrinen developed a recipe for baked feta pasta. At the time, it went relatively unseen outside of Finland – despite reportedly causing a Feta shortage within the country. Due to the pandemic, however, people stuck at home and in need of a quick lunch or dinner have now discovered the recipe.

Not only have they discovered the recipe, but people are loving it. So much so, thousands of TikTok users have tried the recipe, making it an overnight viral sensation. What started on TikTok has migrated to Instagram, Facebook and Twitter as people everywhere tried and shared the recipe.

There are three key ingredients that helped this recipe go viral, and understanding them and what they mean to your own content can help inform your own digital strategy – especially if you are promoting feta cheese pasta related recipes. First, Häyrinen’s recipe was dead simple, consisting of only five common ingredients that needed little in the way of preparation. Just add kitchen, et voilà!

The recipe was also ‘Instagrammable’, meaning it looked pretty and photographed well. People were keen to share their results and more importantly, the visuals helped to draw more people in — the top-down shot of a big brick of oven-melted feta and colourful tomatoes looked great regardless of how professional the photographer was.

Finally, it worked; the recipe was tasty so people were genuinely excited to share the recipe to encourage others to try it.

The feta episode demonstrates how Tiktok is cementing its place as one of the most influential social media platforms. Many see the platform as genuinely organic – as Instagram was before Facebook – and free from the big-name influencers who dominate other platforms.

Our advice as brands seek to exploit Tiktok: like feta recipes, keep it simple.


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