6 Tasty Food Promotion Ideas (and the Recipes for Success)

Discover six creative food promotion ideas that have been successful on social media, including sweepstakes, contests, and giveaways.

By Barry Feldman ・4 min read
Best Practices
Campaign & Contest Ideas

Have you seen images on Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook that made your mouth water?Yeah, me too. Still, you can’t smell or taste social media. At least not yet.But that doesn’t mean there aren’t some tasty ways to whet the appetite of followers, fans, prospects and customers in the digital realm.See, food lovers have proven to have a healthy appetite for social media promotions. If you’re looking for food promotion ideas, you’ve come to the right kitchen.Let’s open the cookbook and look at six food promotion ideas creative brands have whipped up, many with the help of ShortStack software and services. If you’re promoting a food or beverage brand, a variation of one of these recipes may work for you too.

STAR Fine Foods:How Do You O-live?

Star Fine Food's "How do Your Olive" campaign

STAR Fine Foods' recipe aimed to create multiple ways for its customers to interact with its olive brand.


  • A sweepstakes with three easy ways to participate
  • Two valuable cash prizes
  • Five winners of a year’s supply of STAR olives
  • A pinch of gamification
  • Easy social sharing to Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest
  • A mini-site to showcase the contest(Created collaboratively with ShortStack custom services)


  • View and Pin a favorite recipe.
  • Learn more about the nutritional benefits of olives via a quiz.
  • Upload photos of dishes you’ve created with the product.
  • Participate in all three ways to triple your chances of winning.
  • Play the Word Unscrambler game throughout the contest to qualify for weekly prizes.
  • Spread the word about the contest via Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest with one-click shortcuts.


Cooking time: 6 weeks to enable greater exposure and participation.


  • The sweepstakes promotion yielded 35,000 entries from more than 91,000 views.
  • Recipes were viewed more than 6,000 times.

STAR Fine Foods’ recipe was a hit, so they ran their promotion three consective years. Learn more here.“Our goal was to educate consumers on ways to use olives throughout the year. We had done a large campaign like this previously, but it was cost prohibitive. Using ShortStack we were able to have the interaction we wanted at a more reasonable cost and with graphics/content we wanted.” – Crystal Moritz, Account Specific Marketing & Social Media, Star Fine Foods

Tootsie Roll:Halloween Photo Contest

Tootsie's Halloween Costume Contest

Think Halloween; think candy. It’s a simple formula the Tootsie Roll brand capitalizes on each year by conducting a costume contest.


  • Readers’ love for Halloween
  • User-generated content: photos and captions
  • Easy way to play
  • Awards for five winners across multiple categories
  • Fun showcase of past winners


  • Upload a photo of yourself and kids in a Halloween costume via a landing page.
  • Write a caption for your submission.


  • Tootsie Roll’s costume contest ran for one week.
  • Tootsie Roll also runs fun promotions like this all year long.


  • The promotion earned nearly 15,000 views and more than 3,500 entries.

Celestial Seasonings:Blendmaster for a Day

Celestial Tea's "Blendmaster" campaign

Celestial Seasonings makes teas. You’ll find everything about their contest recipe a smart way to promote the products.


  • Blend multiple Celestial Seasonings products (which requires buying multiple Celestial Seasonings products)
  • Inspire creativity via application process
  • Photo submission
  • Social sharing
  • Top entries selected by fan votes
  • Expert judging process of top 30 entries
  • Opt-in button to capture new subscribers to The Tea Leaflet newsletter
  • Judge the entries in-house to select the most “Celestial” blends
  • Award two winners a trip to Boulder, Colorado to become a “Blendmaster for a Day” beside senior blendmaster Charlie Baden
  • Created the plan and landing page collaboratively with ShortStack custom services


  • Create a tasty blend.
  • Give the blend a catchy name and a write short description explaining what teas and other ingredients were used.
  • Submit a photo of what inspired you.
  • Ask your friends to vote for your blend.
  • Subscribe to The Tea Leaflet newsletter.
  • Vote for your favorites.


  • The recipe contest accepted entrants for three weeks and votes for an additional three weeks.


  • More than 11,000 viewed the contest page and 253 entered.
  • More than 3,000 votes were cast.

SouthernRecipe: Gridiron Groovin’

Southern Recipe's Gridiron Football Dance contest

Dance! In this video-based promotion, Southern Recipe celebrates Pork Rind Appreciation Day with football fans.


  • Video uploads to YouTube
  • Simple form entry
  • $2,500 cash prize plus a one year’s supply of pork rinds


  • Shoot footage of your best touchdown celebration dance.
  • Upload your video to YouTube.
  • Complete form.
  • Enter up to 10 videos to increase your chance of winning.


Sweepstakes entries were accepted throughout the 2017/2018 football season (September – February).

Awake Caffeinated Chocolate: Spring Break

Awake's Spring Break giveaway

Awake Caffeinated Chocolate conducted a simple giveaway to promote its products to students.


  • Simple form entry for college students
  • Coupon redemption
  • Sharing via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram
  • Hashtag for sharing
  • Landing page with links to website features
  • Prize is a free spring break trip (offered in collaboration with StudentCity)
  • Design and administration by ShortStack custom services


  • Enter to win up to once per day


  • Awake enjoyed a huge response with 77,000 views and more than 16,00 entries.

NestFresh: Be a Good Egg for the Greater Good

NestFresh Good Egg Charity contest

NestFresh conducts an annual contest aiming to support charitable efforts with its giving campaign, NestFresh Cares.


  • Charity nominations by readers via Facebook
  • Voting process to determine winner
  • $2,000 cash donation
  • Nominator is awarded a year’s worth of NestFresh eggs
  • Prize bundle of products awarded


  • Nominate a “Good Egg,” your charity of choice on Facebook
  • Vote for the charity you deem most deserving
  • Share the giveaway with friends.


  • Fight2Feed was awarded the donation for 2017.
  • 93 total nominations, highlighting 93 unique charitable organizations nationally 
  • 20.2 million total media impressions in key, core, targeted markets related to the campaign

"Everything we do is geared toward our goal of providing a natural life for our hens while serving the folks in our community. NestFresh Cares allows us to further this very important mission while learning more about the ‘good eggs’ in our communities through our conversations across social media, as well as our public relations efforts."— Brandy Gamoning, Marketing Manager at NestFresh

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About the author

By Barry Feldman ・4 min read

Barry Feldman is a content consultant for ShortStack. He is the author of several books and contributes to many of the web’s top marketing sites. Barry was named one of 25 Social Media Marketing Experts You Need to Know by LinkedIn.

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