A Chinese food influencer recently stirred up an online frenzy after posting videos showing how China’s food industry can use synthetic ingredients to lower costs and maximise profits.
In June, food video blogger Xin Jifei began posting clips using a variety of simple ingredients and additives to make food commonly found in the market. He showed how white sugar could be faked as honey, jelly faked as a Chinese bird’s nest, and milk tea could be made without any trace of milk.
In a matter of months, the number of clicks on Xin’s videos soared, amassing a whopping 8.3 million followers on Douyin. On September 29, the hashtag “Black Technology” garnered 1.52 billion views. Some netizens, shocked at the ingredients used within processed foods, vowed to never set foot in a restaurant again after watching his videos.
While some praised the vlogger for bringing this issue to light, critics argued that he was causing public anxiety as well as tarnishing the food sector.
Eventually, after receiving pressure from the Chinese platform’s customer service, the blogger begrudgingly shut down his account on September 28. Later, Xin Jifei began posting his videos on Kuaishou, gathering over 3 million followers within days.
At present, the concept of “black technology” (as literally translated from Chinese), has recently taken the Internet by storm. The term, originating from the popular mobile game “League of Legends”, refers to a top-notch fusion of magic and technology. In the case of short video content creators, it has become a way to transform basic ingredients into food as if done by magic.