Cheap Food Marketing Idea: Combine Food Holidays With Real Holidays

Holidays are fun. Food is fun. It's a recipe for natural social marketing.

halloween milano cookie recipe ingredients and brands
Free food brand marketing - as unscary as marketing gets. Lauren Zaser / Alice Mongkongllite / BuzzFeed

Good news for businesses selling candy: a whopping 86 percent of Americans give or share chocolate or other candy for Halloween.

So it may come as no surprise that retail sales of Halloween candy in 2015 will be $2.6 billion, according to a National Confectioners Association’s (NCA) survey of 1,630 Americans.

As in every day life, parents are seeking out healthier alternatives to the most sugary sweets, a great opportunity for makers of interesting candy they (and kids) would be less prone to pop non-stop, gums and artisan chocolates.

Candy Trends Match Everyday Eating Trends

Most of the Americans the NCA surveyed (81%) feel candy is a treat, with 75% agreeing is it OK to enjoy seasonal chocolate or candy. This overwhelming

Portion sizes are shrinking, with almost 20 percent saying they are more likely to buy in smaller portion sizes than they were five years ago. What does that mean? 

When you eat smaller portions, you had better like what you're eating. 

How to Double Your Holiday Food Marketing Impact

Food holidays tied with official holidays make perfect occasions for fun and engaging social media campaigns, recipe contests and targeted hashtags.

There is no shortage of food bloggers focused on creative recipes. Holidays are when recipe blogging hits a high. Like every other month, October is chock full of "national food days" and month-long food holidays — from the very specific, such as National Vegetarian Awareness Month.

October is also National Non-GMO Month, Fair Trade Month and National Cookie Month. Any company making cookies that use Fair Trade chocolate chips and have no GMO ingredients are leaving a free marketing opportunity on the table if they aren't tapping into this wildfire of marketing material!

It just so happens that in October, that BuzzFeed featured a fun cheesecake recipe using Pepperidge Farm Milano cookies as grave stones.

The recipe? Halloween marketing + National Cookie Month marketing. 

Especially for kids' recipes, ready-made foods like gummy worms become instant recipe ingredients.

For example, October 28 is National Chocolate Day and October 30th is National Candy Corn day.

Steps to Plan a Successful Food Holiday Marketing Campaign

  1. Map your marketing to holidays: First take a look at what you're selling and how well it matches for eating or as gifts on major religious and cultural holidays throughout the year. 
  2. Map your products to holiday recipes and other content marketing possibilities: If you're making food that is a natural for gifts, gift baskets, or as an ingredient home chefs use would use in recipes, you're in luck. 
  3. Then, learn all about food holidays and how to start a food holiday if there isn't one (or more!) for your type of food. As you might expect, the months that feature the most occasions for eating sweets also pack in national candy and other dessert-related holidays. That's no mystery, considering brands and associations are behind many of these holidays.
  4. Consider partnering with complementary food brands. You'll notice an incredible number of food holidays...multiple holidays on each day. Particularly for local businesses where you want to drive foot traffic into your brick-and-mortar store, the more you can combine forces with other local businesses the more newsworthy and exciting your campaign will be. If you go this route, get some creative retail marketing ideas to kick off the campaign.
  1. Create one or more hashtags for your marketing. A campaign-specific social media hashtag strategy is a must, and you should use your hashtags across Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and any other social media for which you have developed a following for your business.

    Hashtags open up the possibility of new, passionate foodies and home chefs discovering a brand through a hashtag. Again if you are partnering with other brands or other local businesses, your hashtag strategy can include the many dimensions of the product types, location, holiday and any other relevant hashtags like #recipe #holidaygift #foodporn, etc.

    Enjoy the holidays and enjoy the natural marketing opportunity these official holidays and fun (often silly) food holidays present for your food marketing success!

    Get in touch if you would like help crafting your #winning social media strategy