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TikTok Expert: Authenticity Key for Food Brands Marketing to Gen Z

With an endless supply of content and more than 50 million daily users, there is no shortage of ways for brands to market themselves on TikTok – particularly to Gen Z.

In fact, half of Gen Z tends to use TikTok on a daily basis, with 55% having bought something after seeing it on the app, according to a survey from Student Beans.

With that, The Food Institute recently spoke with Eric Dahan, CEO of Open Influence, a marketing company that was recently named an official TikTok Marketing Partner, for his opinions on how food brands can successfully use the app to market to Gen Z:


“Gen-Z and modern customers want a brand experience that’s authentic,” said Dahan.

A recent WP Engine survey found that 82% of Gen-Z respondents trust a company more if it uses images of real customers in its advertising, while 72% are more likely to buy from a company that contributes to social causes.

Dahan noted five ideas brands should keep in mind when creating content for Gen Z:

  1. Be authentic
  2. Create raw, relatable content
  3. Be on the platforms where Gen Z spend their time
  4. Have real values that you live by
  5. Have a positive impact


The days of picture-perfect Instagram content are done for younger consumers.

“Gen Z value content that is real and relatable, preferring the raw feeling of TikTok or Reels to highly edited images, said Dahan. “Focus on video … demonstrate a value proposition succinctly.”

“Gen Z hates feeling like their being advertised to,” he added. “Make sure the messaging feels relatable,” he added. “Also, avoid traditional gender roles like branding your product as ‘for girls’ or ‘for boys’.”

Dahan also believes niche content resonates with viewers.

“Amassing a niche following makes sense for influencers, so they often dig as deeply into a specific realm of content,” said Dahan. “This is good news for brands that want to develop longstanding relationships with devoted niche groups.”