hot pickle trend social media

A strange vegan snack is taking the nation by storm, as people accept the challenge of eating a Van Holten’s Pickle-in-a-Pouch.

Each weighing in at 196g, the US product’s quirky variants – Big Papa, Hot Mama, Garlic Joe and Sour Sis – can be seen on LadBible’s ‘Snack Wars’ YouTube series, with British celebs giving their verdicts.

Actor Lily James dubbed Sour Sis (aka Sour Pickle) “horrific”, while her fellow thespian Florence Pugh said she’d rather eat a jar of Branston Pickle than a Hot Mama (Hot Pickle).

In February, presenter Amanda Holden made tabloid headlines by claiming “I’m used to bigger” as she chowed down on a Van Holten’s pickle live on Heart Radio.

The women’s reactions to the snack’s intense flavours and phallic shape have been echoed on TikTok, where #picklechallenge had 234.6 million views at the time of writing.

Users can be watched munching on Pickle-in-a-Pouch – largely available in the UK from c-stores and DTC retailers – and providing their opinion.

Van Holten’s is clearly having a moment. Its bagged cucumbers are front and centre of the healthy snack trend – which on TikTok has generated 1.5 billion views for, well, #healthysnacks.

The likes of Mars-owned snack bar supplier Kind, non-HFSS crisps challenger Simply Roasted and General Mills-owned healthier snacking brand Fibre One have also gained traction through TikTok.

Recipes are proving a boon to grocery brands, too. “Overnight Weetabix” blew up on the platform in early 2022 when TikTok users took to the site to post their pimped up ‘bix’, topped with fruit and flavoured yoghurts.

Other viral big hitters include user-generated recipes for air-fryer tortilla chips, frozen yoghurt bark and lettuce wraps. It all goes to show how eyes on TikTok can drive trial of a recipe or specific product.

A YouGov poll carried out in March found TikTok to be the most influential social media platform for food and drink purchases. Of those surveyed, 40% of TikTok users said they were likely to buy recommended products; compared with 24% on Instagram; 19% on Twitter; and 17% on Facebook and YouTube.

Little Moons is proof of TikTok’s power. It reported a 700% week-on-week sales increase in Tesco, after going viral on the platform in February 2021.

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