BLOG POST BY: Rowan Byers
October 9, 2023

How 5 Challenger Food & Drink Brands Have Leveraged TikTok Virality For Business Growth

TikTok is known for its ability to “go viral”, which to brands might sound like a one-stop-shop for scaling quickly. Whilst a viral product or campaign can be a great thing (as long as you’ve not gone viral for the wrong reasons of course…), it’s also no longer enough if you want to achieve long term growth and success. 

At Goat we always say that brands shouldn’t have “go viral” as a measurable goal, but instead work towards long term, meaningful, consistent growth. A viral campaign, product, or clip can be a great thing, as long as brands have a strategy in place to capitalize on these surges of audience attention. 

TikTokers are just as quick to forget as they are to become a committed consumer. With that in mind, brands must maximize their virality, and we’re here to shed some light on how to do just that, as well as spotlight some of the top challenger food & drink brands that have maximized virality.


TikTok in the Food & Beverage Industry

Top 5 US Food & Beverage Brands Leveraging TikTok for Business Growth

What makes TikTok a great social platform for growth?

5 key takeaways for brands looking to cut through on TikTok and make the most of viral moments

TikTok in the Food & Beverage Industry

TikTok has emerged as a powerful force in the food and beverage industry, transforming how businesses market their products and how consumers interact with culinary content. Its success lies in providing a creative and easily consumable platform for short videos, making it ideal for sharing cooking tips, showcasing recipes, reviewing beverages, and exploring gastronomic trends. The platform’s visually appealing and engaging nature draws in a vast user base, creating an ideal space for food enthusiasts, chefs, and brands to share their unique perspectives and offerings.

In terms of marketing, TikTok’s impact is profound. Brands utilize influencers and sponsored content to reach a broader audience and increase brand awareness. The platform’s algorithm and user engagement often lead to videos going viral, amplifying product exposure and driving consumer interest. TikTok’s real-time analytics and feedback mechanisms provide valuable insights, allowing food and drink brands to tailor their marketing strategies effectively. Where TikTok challenges and trends help to boost marketing efforts, encouraging user participation and brand integration.

TikTok’s influence has significantly shifted the landscape of food and beverage marketing, fostering creativity, innovation, and real-time consumer interaction.

Top 5 US Food & Beverage Brands Leveraging TikTok for Business Growth

TikTok is a hotbed for brands looking to hop on trends, partner with influencers, and scale quickly by maximizing the platform’s formulas for going viral. Here are some of the best: 

1. Nectar Hard Seltzer 

Nectar is a Hard Seltzer brand whose unique selling point is to eliminate the harsh aftertaste that other Hard Seltzer brands are commonly associated with by specializing in Asian flavors.

After multiple rejections from retailers across Los Angeles, Nectar Hard Seltzer utilized the power of the internet back in 2020. The brand posted its first TikTok probing for potential consumers, which very quickly turned into a viral hit. 

With 300,000 views in 3 days, and hundreds of people asking where they could try the products, Nectar went from five friends to a community in the hundreds of thousands, all thanks to TikTok. 

How they continue to use TikTok to drive growth

Nectar Hard Seltzer’s TikTok channel offers an up close and personal feel. The content provides audiences with an authentic look into how the brand has grown over the past three years. As well as providing the platform to scale, TikTok has enabled this group of friends to show the ins and outs of the brand, from visiting food and drink festivals and offering free samples, to its popular ‘Sale of Fail’ series in which potential customers try the product for the first time and give it a totally honest and authentic review. 


Is this a fail or does it count as a future sale? #drink #nectar #seltzer #hawaii

♬ original sound – Nectar Seltzer

Whilst being authentic and documenting the brand’s journey throughout the US, they’re also keen to tap into TikTok trends, trending sounds, and even meme templates

 Why it works

Nectar Hard Seltzer promises to deliver a refreshing product that stands above its competitors, and its TikTok channel certainly reflects that. Here, the brand’s followers are given an insight into what it takes for a small business to grow, how to maximize virality, and writing their own narrative through authentic organic content. 

2. Omsom 

Om som is a phrase in Vietnamese referring to  noisy, rambunctious, riotous and often used by parents to scold unruly children. It is also the name of a brand maximizing its vitality on TikTok. 

Started by two sisters, Omsom brings proud, loud Asian flavors to its consumers, any day of the week. The brand is the “real deal in Asian cuisine” promising no more diluted dishes and to celebrate the multitudes within Asian flavors, stories, and communities.

How they continue to use TikTok to drive growth

Like the brand’s promise to infuse Asian culture into each one every recipe, its TikTok channel does the same.  Following the journey of its CEO sisters, Omsom uses TikTok to share a blend of Asian recipes, day-in-the-life of a CEO videos, and its own take on trending topics. 

Omsom maximizes its vitality by engaging with audience members, utilizing the platform’s content formats such as slideshow, and capitalizing on influencer collaborations, like this PR package the brand sent to TikTok foodie Alex Mutammara – a video that amassed over 300k views!


#duet with @alexmutammara let’s get you some *actual* PR 😉

♬ original sound – Alex Mutammara

Why it works

Omsom’s tone of voice and brand messaging on TikTok aligns perfectly with the messaging across its other social channels and website. This is a great omnichannel marketing strategy, ensuring that audiences get the same seamless experience on each channel. 

The brand’s TikTok strategy works a treat because their presence feels closer to that of a creator, or influencer, than it does a brand. Their content is all about providing value to their audience in the form of flavor infused recipes, how to use certain ingredients, or the inner workings of the brand, and how it has used virality to scale. 

3. Ya Boy Chamoy 

YaBoyChamoy is a small business specializing in Mexican candy and treats. What started out as a hobby on TikTok, quickly transitioned to a global community and became one of the fastest growing brands on TikTok. Using an old family recipe, the brand takes its original Chamoy blend, covering every morsel of candy sold and shipped across the world.

How they continue to use TikTok to drive growth

How often do you stop to watch something oddly satisfying on TikTok or wider social media? Someone restocking their fridge, or thinly slicing an apple, they tend to be the ones that get you. YaBoyChamoy leans into the oddly satisfying trend, posting restock videos where candy is filtered and packaged into containers ready for customer orders. 

A lot of the brand’s content revolves around replying to its audience’s comments, which provides even further opportunities to create content that is more personalized and tailored to its audience. This seems to be a successful strategy however, with customers getting to see their orders packaged, but also find out more about the owners of the business

Why it works

The brand engages with its customers in unique ways, fulfilling audience requests to film their order being packaged. The content style aligns well with the candy vertical on TikTok. For example, the majority of their videos are filmed using a birds-eye-view angle, which is what is typically used by food channels and brands across social. ASMR is just as popular, and YaBoyChamoy integrates that too, intensifying the sound of candy filtering into a container, and the rustle of candy wrappers.

4. Last Crumb 

Spearheaded by “the Head Baker”, Last Crumb is a luxury cookie brand based out of Hollywood, LA. The brand is on a rebellious journey to provide the world with the ultimate tasting experience, with cookies worthy of a Michelin star.

Like your favorite high-end fashion labels, Last Crumb channels exclusivity to reel in consumers by launching unique collections and limited edition drops for consumers seeking the premium.

How they continue to use TikTok to drive growth

Last Crumb combines high-quality production with trending sounds and meme templates on its TikTok channel, which proves to be a fruitful formula. The brand cooked up over 224k followers, with over 2.3 million likes. 

While some might argue that $160 for 12 cookies is a little expensive, Last Crumb promises a Michelin star quality with every cookie sold. The brand utilizes user-generated content on its channel too, having creators showcase their product in their content, which is then reposted to the brand channel. 

 Why it works

Last Crumb’s TikTok channel feels a lot like that of a high-end streetwear brand, in that their content features unboxing, and the unveiling of exclusive products. Within these themes of luxury, the brand ensures to stay relevant with its target audience of Gen Zers, appealing to them through the use of trending sounds and templates. 

5. Mikes Hot Honey 

MIke’s Hot Honey oil America’s leaning brand of hot honey. The brand was created out of a seedier to share the highest quality honey infused with chili peppers. Starting out during hot honey on pizzas at the Brooklyn pizzeria where he worked, Mike has turned this brand into a TikTok sensation with over 118k followers. 

How they continue to use TikTok to drive growth

The brand utilizes TikTok for a large portion of its marketing and brand promotion strategies, often collaborating with influencers or creators to showcase creative and engaging ways to use their hot honey in recipes, meals, and beverages. Their content ranges from cooking demonstrations, taste tests, to food pairings, and challenges for their audience to participate in.

 Why it works

Mike’s Hot Honey excels on TikTok by putting its unique product at the forefront of its content strategy, which helps captivate viewers and strengthen brand association.

TikTok is fueled by creativity, which suits the brand’s collaborations with creators, showcasing uses for their product. By integrating its spicy honey into various recipes and snacks, they attract an engaged audience seeking food trends and new flavors. TikTok’s algorithm helps amplify brand visibility and enables them to resonate with a diverse range of users, ultimately contributing to their success on TikTok. 

What makes TikTok a great social platform for growth?

TikTok is a powerful growth platform due to its immense reach and engagement. Its algorithm-driven content distribution ensures exposure to a vast audience, boosting brand visibility and attracting potential customers. The short-form video format encourages creativity and allows for rapid content creation, ideal for showcasing products, services, or skills succinctly. The platform’s diverse user base facilitates targeting specific demographics effectively. 

Virality is key on TikTok, enabling content to go viral and garner widespread attention quickly.. The platform’s algorithm prioritizes and amplifies engaging content, allowing even relatively unknown creators to reach a massive audience within a short time. A single viral video can lead to an explosion of followers, likes, comments, and shares. This viral effect can transcend TikTok, spilling over to other social media platforms, boosting brand awareness and potential opportunities. TikTok’s “For You Page” (FYP) algorithm is designed to expose trending content to a broad user base, emphasizing the potential for content to rapidly gain momentum and achieve widespread visibility, making TikTok a dynamic platform for viral sensations and exponential growth.

5 key takeaways for brands looking to cut through on TikTok and make the most of viral moments

Going viral on TikTok often isn’t enough. Brands must capitalize on their surging popularity to maintain sustained success. Fortunately, there are a lot of strategic points that brands can implement to ensure they’re maximizing virality on TikTok. Here’s some of our key recommendations:

1. Leverage the momentum: Brands should look to capitalize on the attention garnered from going viral by promoting core messaging, values, and offerings – really letting those new faces know what the brand is all about, give them a reason to stick around. Going viral gives brands a lot of momentum, but leveraging it is a different story altogether. To maximize this momentum brands should ensure that they are prominently featured and explained in the viral content itself, leaving audience members a lasting impression. 

2. Create a strong brand persona: Cohesion points to the action of firming something together, creating something whole. That’s exactly what brands should be aiming for with their social media presence. Developing a cohesive and memorable brand identity that resonates with a target audience is a sure fire way to keep on top. Brands should clearly communicate their values, mission, and unique propositions to establish a more meaningful connection, converting viral traffic into community members.

3. Have a long term vision and be adaptable: Developing a long term strategy that incorporates constant messaging ensures that brands stay relevant amidst enormous spikes in traffic. Thinking long term, and being malleable to changes in the market, audience preferences and emerging trends can help brands adjust their approach to meet evolving needs. Going viral can throw a few spanners in the works, so best to stay on top!

4. Implement data-driven decisions: Behind the trends, challenges, and viral content lie some pretty heavy analytics tools. TikTok’s analytics offering enables creators to meticulously analyze their content, and gather learnings to personalize future content. From watch time to viewer drop-off, and even content recommendations and inspiration, there’s plenty available to elevate a content strategy. Brands should use these tools to measure the impact of viral content, using the insights to identify trends, and optimize for growth. 

5. Strategic partnerships and collaborations:  As the world’s leading global influencer marketing agency, it would be rude of us not to suggest implementing strategic influencer partnerships on TikTok. These collaborations with creators, other brands, pages, channels, or organizations can help expand reach and brand recognition. Let’s not forget credibility either. Having an endorsement from an influencer is often the best way to elevate brand visibility, and foster a more meaningful impression on potential customers.  Partnering with creators also increases the chances of going viral, if not through their creative content ideas, then by accessing their hyper-engaged user base. 

By incorporating these strategies, brands can enhance their presence on TikTok, increase engagement, and increase the likelihood of their content going viral, ultimately expanding their reach and brand impact on the platform.

Goat is a global social media agency with expertise in TikTok marketing. We help brands to reach new audiences, capture attention, grow their accounts, and drive conversions through organic, paid and influencer strategies. Get in touch today to find out how we can help you!

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Written by: Rowan Byers

Insights Executive at The Goat Agency