Did a viral pasta recipe really cause a feta cheese shortage?

Blake Harper
·4 min read

A baked feta pasta recipe that went viral on TikTok has become so popular that there are reports of feta cheese shortages.

The dish, known as “TikTok Pasta,” is surprisingly simple, undeniably gorgeous and totally delicious, so it’s no wonder social media has gone absolutely gaga over it. The ingredients include cherry tomatoes, olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic, basil, pasta and, of course, feta cheese.

The recipe was seemingly created by Finnish food blogger Jenni Häyrinen in February 2019. Known as UuniFetaPasta, it became such a phenomenon in Finland that it apparently caused a shortage of the white cheese. Now that the meal has made its way stateside, is it possible that we could see a feta shortage here? Here’s what we know about the fate of feta in the United States and abroad as of this moment.

Debunking Finland’s feta shortage

First of all, was there really a feta shortage in Finland? The 2019 shortage is certainly being cited, including on feelgoodfoodie’s TikTok video that has more than 8 million views and is one of the original posts responsible for the recipe’s popularity.

“For an easy weeknight pasta dish that’s fuss-free and flavorful, you have to check out this baked feta pasta with bursting cherry tomatoes. The dish is pretty much hands-off, and all the magic happens in the oven. Made with just a handful of ingredients, it’s no wonder this dish went viral in Finland!” Yumna Jawad wrote. I learned about this recipe from my friend Grilled Cheese Social, who made it based on a viral recipe called #uunifetapasta made famous in Finland by Liemessa and originally shared by Tiiu. It became so popular that the grocery stores ran out of feta cheese!! I had to give it a try and I see what all the rage is about!!”

However, trying to find any actual evidence of the shortage is difficult, as most of the articles discussing the dearth of the cheese don’t cite anything definitive.

The closest we got to a clear answer was from Häyrinen’s blog Liemessa in which she reflects on the recipe’s initial popularity and referenced the supposed shortage. “The feta cheese sales went up 300 percent here, the shops were running out of baked feta pasta ingredients,” wrote Häyrinen.

So while there did seem to be a sudden high demand that may have far outreached the supply at the time, no Finnish or international cheese officials (yes, those exist) have backed this up.

Is feta cheese’s sparsity in the U.S. overexaggerated too?

As for what’s happening in local grocery stores, there are reports on social media of cheese aisles running low on feta following the recipe’s hype.

However, as with Finland in 2019, cheese experts believe feta stock is fine. Even Cheese Market News — a totally real thing — isn’t getting reports of a run on feta. “We have not heard anything about this yet,” Alyssa Mitchell, editor-in-chief of Cheese Market News, tells Yahoo Life.

Based on the thousands of accounts of people who’ve tried the recipe successfully, Mitchell might be right. (If the recipe is any good is a whole other story.)

Even if the TikTok bump is true, there’s always the alternative to buying feta cheese — DIY!

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