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Social Media For Food Brands

Haley Durkee
February 8, 2024
Last Updated On
social media food brands blog header

Competition among food brands on social media has been extremely fierce — this additional heat in the kitchen makes social media an absolute must for food brands. 

From Instagram to YouTube and everything in between, explore our list of brands in the food industry with great social media campaigns across channels and what you can learn from them. But first, let’s understand exactly what food marketing is and if it’s right for your brand.

This blog unpacks:

  • What is food marketing?
  • Why food marketing is important. 
  • How social media influences food trends.
  • Creative food social media post examples. 
  • Tips to master social media for food and beverage brands. 

What Is Food Marketing?

The concept of food marketing is simple. It’s the process of promoting and selling products that pertain specifically to food. Food marketing also encompasses the marketing of food brands, as well as restaurants. Some retail brands, like William Sonoma or Le Creuset, are also considered part of the food industry, along with media and publishing brands like the Food Network. 

The most popular way to market food is through social media. Social media has become a key player in food marketing as it is one of the most popular and lucrative ways to promote your business because it's so visual.

Why Is Food Marketing Important?

Food marketing isn’t just important for brands — it’s essential. Without marketing your food brand, there is no widespread way for potential customers to find out about your brand and products other than through word of mouth. Food marketing and social media marketing open your brand up to more potential customers by getting your products in front of as many eyes as possible, and as we all know, the more eyes on your brand, the better for revenue and overall brand awareness.

How Does Social Media Influence Food Trends? 

Social media has impacted food trends like never before. In the 80s, there were Sloppy Joes and the fat-free craze, colorful snacks like Gushers and fusion cuisine in the 90s. The millennium brought a sweet tooth renaissance, with cupcakes in the mid-2000s, followed by avocado and superfoods like acai in the 2010s — and this is just the tip of the iceberg lettuce. 

Since the widespread adoption of social media, food trends have circulated faster than ever. From viral sensations like Dalgona coffee during the pandemic to Emily Mariko salmon bowls and green goddess dips. Platforms like TikTok have encouraged many creators to try new recipes and share their own. These trends have extended to grocery stores, with internal teams making displays with ingredients for these trends. In fact, 82% of Gen Z enjoy food content on social media, while 70% reported social media inspired them to try a new snack and 47% enjoy seeing new food trends on different platforms. Brands have more power than ever to inspire their audience to purchase a product or simply try a new trend. 

Creative Food Social Media Posts

Creative food social media posts have transformed the way we interact with culinary content online. Chefs and food influencers use color, composition and creativity to turn ordinary meals into extraordinary visual feasts. In the following examples, we’ll explore several creative food social posts to inspire and jumpstart your creativity. 


Sakura Life (@sakuralife) uses the ‘girl dinner’ trend in the example below to highlight their charcuterie version (arguably, another trend in the food space), the ‘plantcuterie.’ This is an excellent example of using another trend to support an existing campaign or even a trend you wish to jumpstart from your brand. 

Image credit: @sakuralife

Secrets and Tips 

Secret menus have gripped the public for years — anyone who’s ordered a red-eye from Starbucks can attest to this. Taco Bell (@tacobell) taps into this thirst for insider information, offering ‘menu hacks’ for their customers, like this unique drink combination. These menu hacks tap into Taco Bell’s reputation as a fun, lively brand with a solid sense of humor that genuinely wants to connect with its influencer partners and audience and inspire them to ‘Live Más.’

hand filling up taco bell fountain pop
Image credit: @tacobell


Hellman’s most popular product is undoubtedly its mayonnaise — they wisely tap into humor, like their recent Super Bowl commercial teaser, which shows former SNL star and current Barbie movie star Kate McKinnon wrangling cats and jars of mayo. Content like this helps communicate your brand values and identity to their audience. Aside from showing their funny side on Instagram, Hellman’s also taps into Reels (38% of all Instagram content) to share recipes that use their products. Reels are a creative way to offer value to your audience and share different ways to utilize a sometimes controversial condiment. 

hand dipping cracking in roasted dip
Image credit: @hellmannsmayonnaise

Food Marketing on TikTok

We’ve said it before, and it bears repeating — TikTok is the door to Gen Z, and your social strategy is the key. It’s quickly become one of the most downloaded apps worldwide and a must-do for food and beverage industry marketers. Instead of the glossy, polished content shared on a channel like Pinterest, TikTok is a space for lo-fi, high-energy creatives that speak to the channel’s fun, laid-back culture. Discovery is its best asset — brands can go from the For You page to viral fame by leveraging channel-specific, community-focused features.

Milkbar (@milkbarstore)

MilkBar is an acclaimed bakery founded by famous New York chef David Chang. Originating with Momofuku Noodle Bar, the brand expanded to ice cream and baked goods, hitting it big with sweet-toothed tourists and locals alike. Their TikTok account is a masterclass in leveraging social trends. They routinely feature their current owner, Christina Tosi, who shares behind-the-scenes snippers and her favorites from the brand, or this UGC of Taylor Swift discussing the best cake she ever had from MilkBar — even Jay Z loved it. MilkBar also uses mouth-watering close-ups that provide a tactile sense of their food. 

milkbar owner christina tosi talks about favorite candy
Image credit: @milkbarstore

Poppi (@drinkpoppi

Poppi is a prebiotic soda brand with a colorful can that’s as fun as its TikTok presence. While they benefit from a slew of UGC from loyal creators, they also create a ton of unique, engaging content. Their TikTok account includes their founder, Allison Ellsworth, sharing their brand’s story — a great way to connect with users, along with tapping into uber-fun TikTok trends like the ‘cheesy family photo’ trend, and the example below, which generated a 20% engagement rate — 15.1% higher than the industry average. Check out their feed to find inspiration for UGC, trends and creating engaging content that audiences genuinely want to engage with. 

technicolor animated can of poppi
Image credit: @drinkpoppi

Food Marketing on Instagram

90% of guests research a restaurant before they dine, which means a solid digital presence is crucial to sales in real life. In the fast food world, Instagram offers unparalleled access to a wide range of demographicsespecially millennials, the highest percentage of online food delivery users worldwide. A visual-first strategy is paramount to stopping Instagram users mid-scroll, but captions to match are the extra seasoning that takes your content to five-star territory.

Because the Instagram algorithm heavily favors content with a lot of interaction, the best fast food marketing campaigns encourage audience engagement. Focus on content that takes fans to the comments or has them re-sharing on their profiles. This is where Dash Hudson’s Instagram Insights come in handy — you can understand your historical performance across KPIs, segment content with Boards to get granular with your unique pillars and predict what your audience will engage with most before posting it.

Wendy’s (@wendys)

No other food brand has mastered the art of the meme quite like Wendy’s. The brand has built a cult following of over 1 million Instagram users with impressive engagement (hovering around +15-20% above the industry average). Instead of aspirational, inspirational or educational, Wendy’s posts are pure humor — its amusing brand voice helps set them apart from competitors and win over a slew of millennial and Gen Z fans. The lesson here? Understanding your audience and carving your chicken path is core to climbing the Instagram ladder. 

wendys meme
Image credit: @wendys

Nando’s UK (@nandosuk)

UK chicken brand Nandos cleverly taps into humor to attract users and share their brand identity. While their feed contains a smattering of food posts, the bulk of their Instagram content plays on trending memes, jokes and pop culture — they even showcase their comedic content in a variety of saved Highlights, from ‘Booth Truths’ to ‘Spicy Selections,’ which are custom playlists tailored for each month. Their social approach befriends their audience in a playful way that inspires two-way conversation, engagement and community-building.  

aubrey plaza dress meme nandos uk
Image credit: @nandosuk

Food Marketing on X

Short and sweet — this describes the experience of eating a chocolate bar and the perfect approach to X content. A high volume of short and quippy tweets has proved an effective strategy for top food brands on X, a different technique to most other social channels, but valuable nonetheless. It’s important to understand that X users aren’t slowly scrolling like other social users. X is a fast-paced atmosphere, and the content must keep up to get noticed. Success on the channel requires time and dedication. Still, food marketing professionals who can play the long game will ultimately find significant brand awareness and community connection on a silver platter.

Celsius Energy Drink (@CelsiusOfficial)

Do you think energy drinks and recipes aren’t compatible — especially if they don’t include alcohol? Think again. Celsius, a popular energy drink, engages its over 22K followers with recipes and new products and prompts that its audience actually responds to.  

celsuis drink recipe screenshot x
Image credit: @CelsiusOfficial

Pepsi (@pepsi)

Veteran soft drink brand Pepsi has been a staple on Twitter since 2008 and maintains a solid presence on the channel more than ten years later. Decked out in the brand’s iconic blue, red and white, the feed is perfect for establishing and reinforcing brand identity while focusing content around humor, culture and products. Fans enjoy the self-professed ‘hot takes,’ especially in sports, and engage with various CTAs, including polls and hashtags, like  #Pepsi125, celebrating 125 years of being in business. Pepsi's strategy is clearly working at 3 million followers and content that continues to engage users — despite 13% of users leaving X in 2023.

shaq on basketball court holding mini can of coke
Image credit: @pepsi

Food Marketing on YouTube

The video-only channel is the top choice for food-based publishers who want to capitalize on the channel's teachable opportunities. As one of the longest-running social networks, YouTube boasts over 933 million users worldwide eager to learn the latest food hacks, cooking tips and recipes in an easy-to-consume video format. 

In fact, it has the second-highest global site traffic, with approximately 133 billion monthly visits — and users span generations. Here’s a breakdown of age demographics on YouTube: 

  • 30.8% of users aged 18-24
  • 30.3% of users aged 25-34
  • 15.7% of users aged 35-44
  • 8.4% of users aged 45-54
  • 4.3% of users aged 55-64 
  • 2.6% of users aged 65 and older. 

Savvy businesses in the food and beverage industry have taken notice of this diverse audience and are eager to share their content with this diverse group of users.

NYT Cooking (@NYTcooking)

NYT Cooking’s YouTube channel is almost strictly recipe videos, with a few conversations and kitchen tours in between, and it’s a formula that works well for them. The brand offers content in various formats, including ‘how to make’ videos, personal recipes from chefs and celebrities, and number-based topics like ‘2 ways to cook tofu’ or ‘10 kitchen must-haves.’ Regarding YouTube success, length can make or break viewership — and the NYT Cooking team gets it right with short-form, mid-length, and long-form content ranging from 2 to 45 minutes. Clickable titles, digestible content and a focus on easing the process of at-home cooking have the channel on its way to a healthy helping of followers. 

chef wearing yellow apron holds bowl
Image credit: @NYTcooking

Bon Appetit (@bonappetit)

It would be remiss to talk about food brands on YouTube without mentioning the OGs on the Bon Appetit social team. The channel’s most prominent personalities have become stars in their own right, even inspiring meme accounts based on their favorite content. Showing off the power of a good palate, beloved chefs like Chris Morocco, Brad Leone, and more cook everything from restaurant classics to grocery store staples that inspire their legion of 6 million subscribers to whip out the aprons at home. Much like a traditional television channel, regular series and episodes seem to be Bon Appetit’s secret sauce for consistently racking up views.

chef in grey apron in kitchen stand behind green veggies
Image credit: @bonappetit

Food Marketing on Pinterest

For brands in the food and beverage industry that are focused on packaged goods, Pinterest should be a top priority when it comes to social strategy. Because the channel offers images, videos, and a considerable community of foodies looking for the perfect meal, it’s an ideal place to showcase products in creative ways. The best food brands on Pinterest know the recipe for success: a healthy mix of boards and created and saved pins. Marketers using Pinterest have a unique opportunity to go beyond the standard advertisement and offer interactive lifestyle content social media users won’t find on any other channel.

Pinners can easily discover what they’re looking for through categorized boards (seasonal recipes, branded campaigns, and more), save their favorites for later, and share what they’ve made with your product. The “add photo” button is a notable feature for food brands on Pinterest — Pinners can publicly upload photos directly to pins of products or recipes they’ve tried so others can see their results. Want to generate brand affinity, trust, and interest? Pinterest is the space to do it. Leveraging Dash Hudson’s Pinterest Insights means you can drive traffic and increase ROI by gaining a deep understanding of the metrics and content that converts.

Deliciously Ella (@DeliciouslyElla

Deliciously Ella is the UK’s leading plant-based food and wellness platform and uses Pinterest to naturally share delicious recipes — using some of their products — to attract users and encourage website traffic. Their feed is cohesive yet retains uniqueness by highlighting a variety of recipes. While Deliciously Ella sells products, this isn’t readily apparent on their Pinterest feed. Neglecting to add product images might seem like a miss or risk, but this approach lends itself well to an audience that might not want to be sold to immediately. Users can still indulge in a delicious recipe while discovering a new range of products — with over 219K visits to their Pinterest profile monthly; Deliciously Ella makes excellent use of the ultra-visual platform. 

mashed sweet potato and lentil
Image credit: @DeliciouslyElla

Tiff’s Treats Cookie Delivery (@TiffsTreat)

Tiff’s Treats receives over 3K monthly views — and although they’re a cookie delivery service, they don’t shy away from providing recipes for their audience, like in the example below. They also share inspiration for food plating, UGC that sings their brand’s praises and more. Their feed is full of colorful, detailed and sharp product shots. The visuals don’t rely on excessive branding and use subtle text (if any) and well-staged photos. 

hand mixing cookie dough
Image credit: @TiffsTreat

13 Tips to Master the Food Market

Creating a social media presence or leveraging the power of UGC is a no-brainer for most restaurants — but due to the competitive nature of the food and beverage industry and social media, breaking through the noise and finding your niche can be challenging. Here are twelve tips to help you make sense of food social media, bring attention to your brand and reach the right audience. 

1. Plan Your Posts in Advance

While off-the-cuff, trendy content is necessary for any social strategy, planning most of your content saves time and energy. Knowing what your food brand will post for days or weeks, you can prepare for almost anything. You can ensure the stock of a product you will promote is full. You can also quickly pivot to your content backlog if something happens to go awry.

2. Post Your Content at the Right Time

Once you have your content perfectly curated, it’s time to figure out the right time to post it. The time you post your content can completely make or break its performance, so knowing the best time to post is crucial. Explore the best time to post on Instagram and the best time to post on TikTok to find the best time for your brand, but we always recommend trying out multiple time and day slots to see what works for your specific food brand.

3. Choose Your Platforms Wisely

We recommend using a wide array of social media platforms to promote your food brand. Still, some may make better sense than others, depending on your target demographic and preferred type of content. If you're a food brand looking to promote products to Gen Z, TikTok is a perfect place to share these types of posts. Is long-form video a key part of your strategy? YouTube is the best platform for this type of content. If you’re unsure where to start, Instagram is a great place to share static images, carousels, Stories and Reels.

4. Spend Time Crafting Tantalizing Visuals 

Crafting tantalizing visuals on social media is a game-changer for food brands. Firstly, it's all about first impressions. Eye-catching images grab attention in a crowded social feed, making viewers pause and engage. Secondly, great visuals tell a story, conveying the brand's essence and food quality, which is crucial in an industry where taste can't be directly transmitted online. Lastly, shareable content is king in the digital world. Stunning visuals are more likely to be shared, expanding the brand's reach and fostering a community of enthusiasts who appreciate the food and the art behind it. This strategy turns viewers into advocates, amplifying the brand's presence and impact.

5. Work With Influencers 

Working with influencers is a powerful tactic for food brands in their social strategy. Influencers act as trusted sources with a dedicated following that values their opinions. When a food brand collaborates with them, it taps into this trust and lets them reach a wider but still targeted audience. 

This approach can increase brand awareness and authenticity, as influencers can creatively showcase the brand's products in a relatable and appealing way. Moreover, influencers can provide valuable feedback and insights about consumer preferences, helping the brand fine-tune its offerings. This strategy boosts visibility and fosters community and loyalty among potential customers.

6. Incorporate Interactive Elements 

Interactive content, like polls, quizzes or contests, helps boost engagement by encouraging active participation from the audience. When followers interact with content, it increases the brand's visibility due to social algorithms favoring engagement, but it also provides valuable insights into consumer preferences and behaviors. This feedback can even go so far as to guide product development and marketing strategies. Simple interactive elements transform passive viewers into active participants.

7. Create A Community-Building Strategy 

Engaging with your community is vital to creating loyalty among users. Your audience shouldn’t feel like you’re speaking at them but with them. While this might be unnatural at first due to the nature of speaking to a camera or your own reflection, it goes a long way in connecting with new creators and retaining your existing audience. 

Tapping into your community — their likes, dislikes, how they want to be spoken with, what trends they use and more — will help your team discover UGC that can be re-shared with your audience. From there, you can tap into Instagram UGC tools to measure the potential reach of your earned content and which earned media is likely to perform best for your brand.   

8. Stay On Top Of Social Trends 

Staying on top of social media trends is crucial for food brands looking to remain relevant and engaging. These trends often dictate what content connects with audiences, helping brands to connect more effectively with their followers. By leveraging the latest social media trends, food brands innovatively showcase their products, tapping into new and existing customer bases. Adapting to these trends keeps the brand's social presence fresh and exciting.

9. Adapt to New Formats

For food brands, diving into new and emerging social formats like TikTok and Reels is a smart move for their social media marketing strategy. These platforms are where the action is, offering fresh, creative ways to engage with a diverse audience — plus, you risk missing out on significant trends that could be a perfect fit for your digital strategy and brand identity. By experimenting with these formats, brands can discover what resonates best with their audience, from mouth-watering close-ups to behind-the-scenes kitchen action. It's all about staying ahead of the curve and being where the customers are, ensuring the brand remains relevant and top-of-mind. Plus, it's a chance to have fun and show off the brand's personality in new, dynamic ways. 

10. Leverage Rich Pins

Pinterest Rich Pins are different types of Pins that let the user add additional information — and lucky for food brands, these include a Recipe Rich Pin. Rich Pins are great since they take up more space than most traditional posts and organize recipes in an easy-to-follow way that offers space for ingredients, cook time, and the recipe steps themselves. Some brands might not realize that Pinterest is a visual search engine, meaning with the right keyword and image choices, you can organically reach users searching for ingredients and recipes related to your brand. 

chocolate chip banana bar pinterest recipe rich pin
Image credit: @chelsweets

11. Stay Data-Driven 

Setting goals and consistently benchmarking performance with regular data and analytics monitoring is like the secret sauce for food brands on social media — this helps you know what works and needs more seasoning. By setting clear goals, brands can focus their efforts and measure success meaningfully. Regular data monitoring lets them keep a pulse on their performance, understand their audience's tastes (literally) and adjust strategies as needed. 

Posting mouth-watering content and understanding the impact of that content with insights to cook up even more engaging strategies is essential to achieving those big, flavorful goals.

12. Offer Promotions and Contests

Offering promotions and contests on social media is a tasty tactic for food brands who want to boost engagement and excitement. It's like handing out free samples at a food fair — it draws people in and gets them talking. These activities reward current followers and attract new ones, expanding your brand's reach. Plus, who doesn't love the chance to win something or score a great deal? It's a fun and interactive way to keep the audience engaged, build loyalty and give a little back to the community that supports the brand. In social media, promotions and contests are the equivalent of adding a little extra spice to the mix — they just make everything more interesting. 

13. Promote Your Brand Identity and Values 

Sticky Australia has earned global popularity from its videos showing the day-to-day operation of an old-fashioned candy store. They routinely show the successes, failures and jokes, like the example below, that provide viewers a glimpse of their brand identity

woman making homemade hard candy in story
Image credit: @stickyaustralia

Share Visuals You Can Taste With Dash Hudson

Sometimes, you need to cover several demographics at once, leveraging all the tools in your kit to reach them. Dash Hudson’s Scheduler allows you to set and forget your posts for Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook, with a post duplication functionality that makes cross-channel scheduling a breeze. Enjoy a host of tools expertly designed for cross-channel campaigns and the content selection process, leaving you time to focus on crushing your creative and tracking the metrics that matter. Social teams can use Competitive Insights and Social Listening to see how they compare to competitors — and what people say about their brand, the food industry and foodie trends. Social media for food brands — that’s something we can raise a glass to.


Which social media is best for food businesses?

While there is no definitive answer to which social media platform is best for food brands, there are a couple of front runners. With the rise of social entertainment, users want to be entertained, and that means by their food, too. So platforms like TikTok, Instagram and YouTube, which have a specific focus on quick, entertaining short-form content are an excellent place for food brands to start in 2024.

How do you promote food on social media?

Social media is all about what’s trending; more often than not, it’s food. Whether it's a specific recipe, food item or restaurant, there is always a new food trend floating around on social. Remember #bakedfetapasta? This phenomenon exploded after TikToker MacKenzie Smith posted a video following a recipe on her blog for baked feta pasta. Her video alone amassed over 3 million views, while the hashtag #bakedfetapasta has over 52 million views (and counting). The beautiful thing about social media is that you never know what will go viral or pique users' interest, so every ingredient is truly an opportunity for your brand.

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