Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Mmm, Tasty

If you have ever been on a social media network, it’s more than likely that you have seen a Tasty video. These quick, time-lapse cooking videos have skyrocketed in popularity across social media.

Tasty is designed by Buzzfeed for Facebook, and fits perfectly into Facebook’s functions, especially taking advantage of the auto-play feature for videos. Tasty videos are what’s called “thumb stoppers”: content that gets you to stop aimlessly scrolling through your Facebook feed. Since you don’t need sound to see a cooking video, you can simply watch the video and move on. But the point is that it gets you to stop. One estimate even states that one in four active Facebook users watch at least one of these Tasty videos a month. This is a huge number.

Cooking videos are definitely not a new creation. There is an entire TV channel dedicated solely to cooking instruction and cooking shows, but Tasty is different. Alvin Zhou, a Buzzfeed employee, came up with the idea after one of his friends gave him a burnt cookie for his birthday. He didn’t understand how someone could mess up something as simple as cookies from a baking mix.

Tasty is different from traditional cooking shows, and even cookbooks, in that it caters to a completely different group of people: millennials. Tasty allows viewers a quick glance into the cooking process for some of their favorite foods, or foods that they’ve never seen before. Unlike simply reading a recipe, Tasty videos allow for people to see exactly what every step of the process is supposed to look like (texture, color, how long to stir for, etc.), making cooking much more accessible to people who are more interested in “Instagram-ing” their dinner than actually cooking it. Even the way the videos are filmed is done in a completely different way. Rather than showing someone making a recipe, the videos are filmed directly from above, which makes it much easier for the viewer to see the hands in the video as their own hands, further making the recipes more accessible.

Tasty was a creative, revolutionary way to use social media. Tasty videos get millions of views in matters of days, showing that these “thumb-stopping” videos are really effective.

Tasty is also an example of how a creative product can spread across cultures. Multiple other Tasty pages have popped up, with similar popularity to the original. Proper Tasty (British), Tasty Japan, and Bien Tasty (Spain) are just a few examples. The idea of making cooking more accessible spread across cultures. 



  1. I love these Tasty videos! I hate to admit it, but I definitely fall under that category of millennials. I hate taking the time to pay attention to the directions which I still get wrong half the time; it makes me not want to cook. It is actually extremely helpful to see exactly what it should look like step by step, and it makes me think that it's something I could actually accomplish. This is a really good example of someone taking a well-known and respected thing (cooking shows and traditional recipes) and making it more accessible and appealing to the next generation. This could also be an example of collaboration as many cultures, food styles, and companies have participated and added to the "hype" of the Tasty videos. I wonder if Zhou came up with the idea himself or if he collaborated with others to get this simple yet creative idea?

  2. Tasty-style videos have certainly become an immediately recognizable and enjoyable genre of online content in the past few months. I wonder, however, what Zhou's creative process was like when he made the first Tasty videos. In some ways, Tasty has taken hallmarks of cooking shows that go back at least to Julia Child. Even filming from above has been used by Rachel Ray, Mario Batali, and Martha Stewart. At first glance, these videos seem to be just an amalgam of techniques already available in the consumer market. Yet, there is something special and different about them. What about Zhou and his team's creative process has made these style of easy-to-access, aesthetically vibrant videos such a hit?

  3. I liked how you discussed Tasty as an appeal to not only Facebook users, but Instagrammers and the like. In the web of interconnected social media today, it has become more important that videos like Tasty carry over into other medias. I know that Tasty videos are also available on Twitter, further widening their audiences!

  4. One a month? I've definitely gone way over my viewing limit! I am so addicted to the Tasty videos. They are so easy to continue to watch one after the other. I really love how they are simple videos that show easy meals that one would usually consider to be outside the bounds of their repertoire. I have definitely found many new recipes that I now cook quite often. Although this was the idea of Zhou, I wonder how many different chefs were able to collaborate with him in order to create all of the videos and meals.

  5. I think tasty bridges the ideals of the old with the new. They take the original trends of the cookbooks, cooking channel, cooking shows, and brings them to the new medium:internet and social media. By givig such detailed step by step instructions they are highlighting certain failproof methods to cook some amazingly detailed products. Since they are giving such detailed guidelines in how one should prepare a meal, do you believe that they are in fact taking creativity out of cooking?

  6. I can relate to this post because I love tasty videos! I agree with the fact that they're appealing because of the visual demonstration. I personally have read recipes where I am confused on what to do. I think the best part of the videos is that when you watch it, you feel as though you can do it. They take many dishes and show how easy it is to make them, and provide a convenient link to the full recipe. I would be interested to hear more on how they created it. It was inspired by a burnt cookie, but how did they come up with the concept to record it in such a different way than has been done before?

  7. I love the concept of the "Tasty" videos, but I was wondering if they were truly effective? I have multiple friends tell me that they cannot replicate the results of the Tasty videos on their own, leading me suspect the validity of those videos. I wonder why there is such an issue with so many people.

  8. The Tasty videos seem to fit into the new model of efficient and detached consumption. There is no human interaction with the video, no faces, and no verbal language use. The videos also fit into the 2 minute window during which internet users commonly give up viewing a video. The viewer gets to experience food creation and the final product, which is stimulating without having any effort put in. The creator obviously knew his market and is now able to make money through advertisements. I wonder how long this trend will last, though, being that their dishes have been mass viewed and there are only so many recipes to post.


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