TikTok has a new It Girl: she’s hot, she’s zesty, and she can get spicy. Actually, she’s soup. What I’m trying to say is, people on TikTok love soup.
Some very strange things have gone viral on the video-sharing app (hello, vagina ice cubes), but this trend makes a lot of sense. It’s getting colder out. Most everyone is miserable. And anyone who’s ever needed a day where they lie face down in a comforter for hours on end knows: In times of trouble, minestrone will be there.
The extremely fun-to-say “#Souptok” has 29 million views on the app right now. The more generic “#Soup” boasts nearly 2 billion. Similarly, over 4.7 million people have watched “#SoupTikTok” clips.
A TikTok spokesperson added that the most popular soup recipes on the platform are tomato and garlic clove. In one viral trend, users were taking the audio of Adam Driver in a scene from Girls saying “good soup,” and using it in the background of their videos. According to the TikTok spokesperson, this soundbite has been used in over 255,000 videos and has been viewed over 1.3 billion times.
Most are recipe videos—professional and amateur chefs showing how they prepare soups like carrot and sweet potato, French onion, and chicken noodle. In one clip from the user @wellnessbykay, which over 183,000 people have liked, the ingredients for a “lightened up broccoli cheddar” recipe are rolled out in a sort of ASMR fashion.
We listen to the satisfying way she rips the skin off of an onion, the “whack” sound of her Faberware knife against a wooden cutting board, and the “woosh” of peeling carrots, all set to the familiar sound of the Gilmore Girls theme song. “It’s soup season!!” @wellnessbykay writes in the caption. (She did not respond to The Daily Beast’s request for comment.)
These videos are basically comfort porn. The fashion influencer Mary Skinner wrote in a caption, “when things get hard I remember i’m working towards having this in my future…” Is it a dream job? Her first home? A family? No, as the video cuts, we see a montage of money shots of stews in decorative cookware. Beans and kale, tortilla soup, chili; there will always be more soup to eat.
Violet Witchel, aka @violet.cooks, is a Vassar student who posts recipes on TikTok to her audience of 1.7 million followers and has also become something of a soup-fluencer this fall. She decided to celebrate her own “Soup Week,” where she shared a new one for seven days straight.
“There was a viral sound that was ‘good soup’ which put soup at the top of people’s minds,” Witchel said. “And then with the seasons changing people wanted warm comfort food so it was the perfect storm. It’s tough to come up with content every day so when the soup did well I was like, doing a fun different soup each day will be a good challenge for me and keep my content consistent.”
A spokesperson for Campbell’s Condensed Soup told The Daily Beast that the top four most popular flavors in terms of sales are cream of mushroom, chicken noodle, cream of chicken, and tomato. The brand saw a spike in sales in 2020, as the dark, early days of the pandemic sent shoppers into a canned goods frenzy. According to the company, sales increased by 17 percent due to lockdowns and sheltering-in-place.
Sales have cooled since, with a 21 percent decrease in the fourth quarter of 2021 compared to last year. More people are going out to restaurants and enjoying food cooked by other people—or perhaps, they’re following TikTok recipes and just making their own soups.
Some on TikTok are attempting to craft a personality out of loving soup. “Gorgeous gorgeous girls love soup, soup girls are the most popular girls in the chicken coup,” the user @fishdress says in a video while twirling a spoon around some broth-soaked noodles. “Soup queens are soup fiends, and soup fiends get the greens. So eat your soup and you’ll be cool.”
Over 218,000 people liked the video, which was flooded with comments like ‘bad bisques only,” “finally soup girl representation i’ve been waiting for,” and my personal favorite, “if i saw y’all in public i’d nervously compliment and secretly want to be invited to join soup girl hour.”
A TikTok spokesperson said that the quote “gorgeous, gorgeous girls love soup” has been used in over 2,500 videos. @Fishdress, who lists their name as Serena in their bio, did not respond to my request for comment.
But I would like her to know that I sent her video to a friend going through a devastating life crisis this week.
“Permission to send a funny TikTok?” I asked, and I shot over the link when my friend said it was OK. She instantly replied, “I needed this. Also, how did you know I was eating soup right now?”