This past year everyone’s Tik Tok for you page was filled with people trying the infamous chamoy pickle kit, and they either ate it up or acted like it was the worst thing to ever enter their mouth. For those not indoctrinated, chamoy pickle kits are kits you can buy to create the viral chamoy pickle. It involves a pickle that you stuff with chamoy, takis, tajin, and candy salsaghetti that is finally wrapped with a fruit roll up. What makes this trend so annoying is not the damage it does to your bowels, but how it reveals a scary place our society is going. It reduces the “chamoy pickle” to simply a passing trend in a sea of food trends constantly being picked up and dropped by an ever-growing, mindless, media devouring population.  

Cultural Insensitivity

Now I know that got philosophical fast, but hear me out. The rise of social media has increased our information consumption exponentially, and no platform is a better example of this than Tik Tok. The whole concept of Tik Tok is a series of second long videos that satiate our slowly decreasing attention span. This form of rapid media consumption also lends itself to quick trends where everyone hops onto something for a fun minute, then moves on to the next exciting thing. Food trends are an example of this, and Tik Tok is filled with people showing and trying millions of “trendy” foods. From whipped coffee to butter boards to fruit soup, food trends have proven to envelop the Tik Tok audience. There’s something so fun about seeing a “quirky” new food trend, and trying that food yourself to see what the hype is all about.

 On the surface there’s nothing wrong with this, but over time it is slowly developing into something very weird. Note my use of the word “quirky” two sentences back, because that is how many people see these trends. Many people would describe the chamoy pickle as “quirky”, and probably have never heard of many of its ingredients. What people fail to recognize is that the chamoy pickle has a rich Hispanic-American history behind it. Chamoy and tajin are very popular additions to sweets, and Latin American popular culture has been putting them on mango, gummy bears, and pickles for years. Yet, when people try the chamoy pickle they just see it as a silly trend, taste it, and throw it into the giant pile of forgotten Tik Tok foods. Here is the big problem, foods can't be trends since they have rich cultures behind them, and turning them into wacky trends further exoticizes and alienates these marginalized cultures

Trend Following

Now that’s not the only problem I have with food trends, and it goes way beyond just cultural sensitivity. I know that not all trends have a cultural basis, and I seriously doubt that a butter board has a rich history behind it. Nonetheless, people making what they eat based on trends is a disturbing concept. A recent tik tok blew up where an influencer asks her following if she is “late” to her new “late night snack obsession”. The snack in question is just sliced apples with cinnamon. The comments were rightfully shocked at how you could be “late” to sliced apples.

 Following food trends has become so ingrained in us that eating a basic snack brings up the question of if you are “late” to it. Similarly, a lot of people eat certain foods because it is a trend, and then will drop it once it passes. This can lead to a mindless consumption of media where you just pick up everything thrown at you, and base what you eat on popular culture. This is terrifying since it eliminates all discovery and individuality behind food, and it reflects a looming crisis in our culture. People are being more and more influenced by social media and what is trending, and are beginning to base their entire lives on what online strangers tell them. If this mindless, brain numbing following of trends extends to one of our most basic functions, eating, then that is truly horrifying.

The Solution

I know this may sound overdramatic (trust me it is), but it's a scary pitfall that our society may accidentally fall down. There is nothing wrong with trying something new you see on social media, but just try to be very conscientious about when you do. Try to become aware of that food's history, and don’t force yourself to like it because everyone else does. Find what foods you like on your terms, and if we all just do that maybe we can escape the chamoy pickle kit apocalypse.