influential marketing trends

Can Brands and Marketers Enjoy Girl Dinner, Too?

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Social media is constantly evolving, and some videos, audios, and challenges go viral instantly. Some trends stick around for the long run and become users’ go-tos, while others blow up and vanish in a couple of months. Trends move so quickly that it’s nearly impossible to predict, but while they’re in the spotlight, we can examine how they got there and why we love them. Let’s take a look behind our next trend, girl dinner. 

Girl dinner is a trend that has been growing and gaining popularity steadily over the past few months. Girl dinner is essentially women sharing the small snack-style meals they prepare for themselves for dinner, with no cooking or large amounts of prep involved. As the trend gained popularity, a sound was created for it and was soon used in almost every girl dinner video. 

No Prep, Just Girl Dinner

The trend was first started by TikTok creator Olivia Maher (@liviemaher). In her video, Maher shares that she eats the dinner of a medieval peasant: cheese, bread, and pickles, accompanied by a side of wine, and she calls it her “girl dinner.” While Maher’s dinner looks like just a quick home version of a charcuterie board, what resonated with audiences was the feeling of girl dinner and the act of just throwing together snacks from your fridge to make your meal for the night. 

@liviemaher #girldinner #medievaltiktok ♬ original sound – Olivia Maher

Maher created her first video using the phrase in May, and within the next few months, girl dinner spread across TikTok and other social media platforms. The phrase is even appearing in classic meme-style posts with just an image of an unorthodox meal captioned “girl dinner.”

Google Trends indicates that the girl dinner trend began taking off more widely in early July, and in late July and early August, we are seeing the trend in full swing. In just a few months of it going viral, #girldinner has garnered 767.1 million views on TikTok and is still growing each day. The trend grew so greatly that multiple filters were created around it, showing audiences what their top three girl dinner items are. The #girldinnerfilter has over 3 million views, and some of the filters have around 200,000 videos.

The trend started as other creators shared their small-portioned, no-prep, unorthodox, and sometimes aesthetically pleasing dinner mixes of food they already had in their fridge, which many found relatable and fun. After the trend began gaining traction, it shifted to a much more comical and chaotic tone. Whichever tone creators use to frame their version, viewers often find it relatable. 

On the comical side of the trend, girls began showing their girl dinners, which ranged from nachos and leftover takeout sauces, to a single big slice of cake, to mac and cheese in a wine glass, or even just a heaping mound of shredded cheese. Check out the TikTok below to see the difference between the two sides of the trend: 

@grodygirl and both r so valid honestly #girldinner ♬ original sound – 🥀🔪em🔪🥀

And girl dinner isn’t just for the girls. Some male creators have joined in on the trend to share their strange or non-cooking meals. As many commenters under #girldinner videos have stated, girl dinner isn’t about being a girl or how much you eat: It’s about the silly and unconventional content of the plate and the feeling of enjoying the meal. Check out this comedic creator’s take on boy dinner: 

@bryaninheelee What is boy dinner #girldinner #fyp ♬ original sound – Bryan 인희 Lee

Girl Dinner, Love it or Hate it?

Girl dinner is resonating with many people on social media. Reasons TikTok users have given for enjoying girl dinner include: 

  • They prefer eating various small snacks over a big meal. 
  • It’s pleasant to come home after a busy day and not worry about cooking and cleaning.
  • They’re using leftover items in their fridge. 
  • It is a way to eat the foods they like without worrying about other people’s input.

Online audiences relate to eating weird and chaotic dinners in their personal lives, so watching others do it online feels as if they are in on a joke together or having a shared experience, in turn forming a connection between creators and audiences. Many users bond over the fact that they feel a need to eat or prepare a large dinner when with their partners, and when they are having a solo night, they get to enjoy a plate of cheese, crackers, and dried seaweed.

Despite girl dinner giving many users some comfort and laughs around their meal preparation, it is taking on some controversy, as well. Some users and online trend watchers and reporters are expressing concern over the eating habits displayed in girl dinner content, saying they believe it encourages disordered eating. 

Registered dietician and nutritionist Laura Ligos told CBS, “Unfortunately, disordered eating runs rampant on apps like TikTok where ‘girl dinner’ is blowing up. Just know that you need to eat enough to fuel your body, and if this is a meal, it needs to be a meal, not a snack.”

However, others express the opposite opinion. Creator Cecelia Fales (@lilcecesworld) created a girl dinner video that garnered 17.9 million views. While the majority of the comment section was filled with people relating to her, she was met with comments claiming she has an eating disorder. In a response video, Fales said, “Just because I eat girl dinner doesn’t actually mean that I don’t love eating food or eating an actual dinner. I’m just too lazy.”

See her full response here: 

@lilcecesworld And this is in no way me trying to make light of people who do struggle with a ED, or promote “girl dinner” and not eating a well balanced meal either. Bc i know how people love to take everything anything the wrong way these days. #grwm #makeup #beauty #grwmmakeup #grwmroutine #girldinner ♬ original sound – Cecelia Fales

A second nutritionist and health coach, Kathrine Kofoed, told The New York Times, “It’s a pleasant departure from diet culture, and from all these rigid expectations of what food should be. I see so many more issues for people with overeating and restricting and then perhaps binging, or just having this very complicated and often disordered relationship with food.”

Kofoed also expressed that there are benefits in finding joy and pleasure in the meals we are eating, and many TikTok users express how girl dinner brings them joy because they have the freedom to eat what they want.

Whether your perception of girl dinner is good or bad, the trend is viral and may persist on social media platforms for some time to come regardless of conflicting feelings towards it. The beauty of social media is that it gives you the power to share your own story and voice. It is a possibility to share your love for girl dinner and your own favorite meal, and it is also a possibility to advocate for healthy balanced diets.        

Brands and Girl Dinner

Girl dinner definitely provides an opportunity for brands to join in. In fact, some already have. Popeye’s released its version of girl dinner, which includes an array of its classic sides and is available through online ordering. 

It is not a guarantee that girl dinner will become an evergreen trend, but it also has the potential to last a bit longer than some other fast-disappearing trends, such as corecore. Whether it will last or not, if brands want to participate, they should jump in quickly! 

This trend would work best with consumer packaged goods marketing or food and beverage brands, but with some added creativity, nearly any industry can join in. Take a look at these suggestions for creating girl dinner content as a brand: 

  • Go the original route by creating aesthetic charcuterie, tapas, or bento-style food videos. 
  • Select your creator carefully, and monitor their past content to ensure you will not end up in hot water due to a creator with a questionable past. 
  • Take a satirical approach and make it known to audiences that it is comedic. 
  • Use creativity to capture the essence of the trend, while also showcasing a balanced meal. 

Trends move quickly, and we cannot predict exactly how much longer girl dinner will be in the spotlight. But while it is here, move in mindfully and give it a try!

Open Influence is a global creator marketing agency that always stays on top of trends and ahead of the curve. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us and get started on your next campaign!

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