How do food bloggers on Instagram make money?

How do food bloggers on Instagram make money?

It’s a question many food enthusiasts ask regarding Instagram, and we’ll answer it in detail here.

The earning potential for food bloggers on Instagram is vast. Food content creators can establish different income streams that will send money directly to their bank accounts or at least notable traffic to their blog, creating other income opportunities.

Food bloggers can use Instagram to channel traffic to their blogs, which is one way they profit from their Instagram following.

However, there are many other ways food bloggers can monetize their following on Instagram, such as profiting from their own recipe membership platform. Look at the list below before we study the items in detail.

How do food bloggers on Instagram make money? (Summary)

Food bloggers can monetize their Instagram following through:

  • Membership programs
  • Brand sponsorships and partnerships
  • Advertising their own blog
  • Affiliate programs
  • Restaurant reviews
  • Selling cookbooks and eBooks
  • Selling online courses
  • Selling merchandise
  • Advertising discount coupons

1. Driving traffic to a membership program

How do food bloggers on Instagram make money through memberships?

Food bloggers make a lot of money from membership programs. First, they set up a membership program on a blog. When it’s ready, they can start promoting the membership program to followers on Instagram and other social media.

With the help of MealPro App, a white-label recipe and meal planning app, you’ll find a logical way to monetize your Instagram following as a food blogger. 

You can use MealPro App to embed meal planning into your membership website, which you can then promote on Instagram.

Membership vs. display ads

If a membership strategy is well implemented, its revenue can surpass that of display ads. It’s arguably a more stable income source too.

Unlike ad revenue, it’s unlikely that you will wake up one morning to discover that page views have dropped by 25% or more, leaving you with an irregular source of ad revenue. If members can see the benefit from the program, they’ll continue to pay.

The challenges of a membership program

The challenge food bloggers have faced for years is how to simplify content management and prevent churn among subscribers. 

A user won’t continue paying unless you provide what they want. Satisfying each subscriber requires making it easy for them to get high-quality recipes and meal plans.

People have distinct preferences even if they follow the same diet, say keto or vegan. One person may dislike a recipe or meal plan for the same reason that another person likes it.

And a creator cannot make unique content for every single person. So, how do food bloggers on Instagram make money from memberships despite this challenge?

How food bloggers deal with this challenge

Content creators who don’t use specalized membership platforms deal with this problem by creating a variety of PDFs and videos that users can download. This is usually an inadequate solution because it does little to reduce the workload for creators and users.

It forces the blogger to design multiple PDFs and the users to edit the PDFs or create new unique ones by copying content from the creator’s original PDFs.

It doesn’t take long before most subscribers are tired of continually editing PDFs despite paying you for them. That’s when churn will start. This is why we built MealPro App: to drastically reduce the amount of work for you and your subscribers and minimize churn.

How MealPro App solved this problem

MealPro App software is simple to integrate, as shown in this demo. The software has transformed membership revenue generation for food bloggers. 

It sets membership programs on track to becoming one of the best revenue-generation models for food blogs. 

You won’t have to create multiple PDFs every month, and your users can customize everything to their liking, as explained in this free master class.

So, how do food bloggers on Instagram make money through MealPro App?

They simply sign up and deploy it alongside their website. All subscribers have to do is add, edit, delete, drag, and drop items into meal plans from your recipe catalog. They can automatically generate PDFs of meal plans, recipes, and shopping lists afterward.

Moreover, users don’t need to manually convert ingredient quantities to portion sizes and servings – it happens automatically.

All your recipes and meal plans will be organized in one place but under different categories. There are many more automation and monetary benefits to using MealPro App. 

You can learn more about these advantages from our case studies. A popular food blog, The Girl on Bloor, used MealPro App to bump her membership monthly income from zero to $2,000 monthly — an addition to the income she already makes.

This detailed post (plus a free toolkit) outlines how to start a meal planning membership website and take advantage of MealPro App’s features.

2. Brand sponsorships and promotions

How do food bloggers on Instagram make money via brand sponsorship?

The sheer competition online among businesses forces brands to often advertise intensely — competitors bombard prospective customers with hundreds or thousands of daily ads to start with. 

The food niche is among the most competitive and demands high-quality content to succeed. Hence, many food brands splash out on social media marketing (SMM), marketing agencies, and freelancers to help make it happen.

However, the biggest concern for food brands regarding Instagram marketing is the fact that people (naturally) trust recommendations from someone they know over a brand’s promotional content. 

If a brand posts something, many people suspect them of bias, and you can’t blame users because it’s challenging to find a business online that admits its product’s weaknesses or even mentions them, especially if these weaknesses can negatively impact sales. 

This is why food brands are willing to pay $5,000 per Instagram post. At the end of the day, they regain their expenses and make gains.

You can contact brands that sell products that you love and offer to promote their business for a fee. You get higher pay when you deal with the company directly rather than following through influencer marketplaces like IZEA. Dealing with brand promotions through an intermediary source will reduce your revenue sometimes by more than 20%.

Brands can send you material for your posts, such as photos, marketing verbiage, etc. However, sometimes it is better to create your own content as it is more natural and trustworthy to the consumer. Always check first with the brand what they prefer. 

How much do food bloggers charge per post on Instagram?

Generally, influencers on Instagram use a formula of $10 per 1,000 followers — this can be higher or lower depending on the blogger. 

Most food bloggers on Instagram partner with brands for promotions. Brands can work with food bloggers with less than 10,000 followers on Instagram, especially if the blog is in a niche category like vegetarian food, vegan diets, etc. 

This is how most food bloggers make money on Instagram.

The challenge is finding brands to work with. There are so many food influencers on Instagram, and it is such a competitive topic that advertisers sometimes simply won’t discover everyone, particularly those with less than 10K followers.

On a positive note, though, brands are usually interested in influencers that can broaden their reach regardless of how many followers they currently have.

Food companies may consult specific databases, like Influencity, to find influencers in different countries or cities. But they may also find the food blogger organically through their own recommendations on Instagram. So make sure you are always hashtagging relevantly and posting consistently.

It is no secret that brand deals can be lucrative. However, no matter how much you make from brand ambassador deals, membership revenues will likely be higher, as we’ve explained in our post on how much food bloggers make. And you can always combine both brand deals with membership platforms to augment even more income. 

Qualities you need to be a successful brand ambassador

How do food bloggers on Instagram make money as brand ambassadors?

Not every food blogger with a 10K following can become a successful influencer; for one, fake followers and bots exist. If you read about social media on forums like Black Hat World, you’ll see freelancers advertising to provide thousands of followers for a small fee.

Food brands know about this hack. The most straightforward way food companies detect fake Instagram followers is to check engagement on a profile. Therefore, a reasonable engagement rate is critical to the success of a food blogger looking to clinch Instagram sponsorship deals.

The other thing is for your food blog to be related to the brand’s products. Don’t be a vegetarian blogger who tries to partner with brands selling chunks of steak. Your followers aren’t likely to be interested in this brand and may disagree with your promotion of it. The last thing you want is to lose followers, as it can have an adverse effect on future income streams. 

Highly targeted food niches are great for food bloggers who want deals with brands. However, sponsorship offers can still be an unreliable source of income, especially when compared to membership programs. You can contact us to learn more about implementing a profitable meal plan membership on your website.

Can I make money as a food blogger with less than 5K followers?

Yes, you can.

That begs the question: how do food bloggers on Instagram make money with less than 5K followers?

You’d think only influencers with hundreds of thousands or millions of followers can work for food brands. However, that’s not the case. Some brands specifically want influencers with fewer followers as these tend to generate higher engagement rates. 

Brand promotion has risks

When experts advertise products to their followers, they’re also careful about their reputation. They won’t advertise products that followers may regret buying, or at least they’ll make it clear it’s an advert, not a recommendation.

There are tags on Instagram to show that a post is ad content. So, don’t recommend a product you don’t know explicitly simply because the brand offers handsome rewards for marketing. 

The trust of your followers is way more important than any short-term financial benefits a brand may give you. Once people lose faith in you, they may stop following you.

Selling cookbooks on a website

It’s better to sell your eBooks or hardcopies on your website. Instagram should be for advertising your website and promoting products, not selling them.

How do food bloggers on Instagram make money via cookbooks?

They do this by regularly mentioning their cookbooks and other proprietary items hosted on their websites. This is a better approach than selling on Instagram directly.

You’ll derive more advantage from directing traffic to your blog because it leads to high CTR (clickthrough rate) for ads, affiliate sales, and people interacting with your website on a deeper level. They can read about your membership programs, see other eBooks, discover other brands and products you promote, etc.

You can sell hardcover cookbooks on Instagram

However, you can sell hard-cover cookbooks on Instagram in America and other parts of the world. Eligible US Instagram accounts can set up automated checkouts on Instagram, and this is available only in America (at the time of writing).

Now that people are familiar with automation, they won’t like manual processes. If you sell eBooks or hardcopies on Instagram, they can’t download the books at the time of payment. They must wait for you to send the document to their emails unless you direct them to purchase on a separate platform, such as Gumroad.

So, how do food bloggers on Instagram make money by selling books? Most use it for advertising the eBook by frequently talking about it (more on this later).

3. Advertising their stuff on Instagram

Your Instagram following is a market where you can sell things without competition. Whoever enters there should see adverts for your goods alone. Part of the reason we developed MealPro App is for you to harness the full potential of this market. Even if your loyal following is less than 5K Instagrammers, you can start earning from them, even if only a small amount.

Use Instagram as an advertising platform. Since you’re a food blogger, you should advertise your blog above any other product for your partner brands. If you use your Instagram account properly, each follower will know your website. If you provide sneak peeks and teasers on Instagram, they’ll visit your blog regularly.

4. Joining affiliate programs

Don’t overlook affiliate marketing when considering how to monetize your Instagram. Many food bloggers make significant income from this approach, and you can, too. However, make sure to only promote great products that you believe people aren’t likely to regret buying, and don’t exaggerate the benefits of such products.

Also, don’t try to sell too many products or over-advertise a brand. Depending on the types of affiliate programs you join, you can get anywhere from a few hundred to several thousand dollars a month.

You can still promote affiliate products on your website even if there’s a membership program; in fact, MealPro App offers a juicy affiliate program you can take advantage of and share with other food bloggers (with rewards of up to $1,076 per referred customer). 

Not all your content will be for paid users only, particularly articles. Affiliate links will help you make money from visitors who don’t want to join your membership program. You can also promote affiliate links in articles behind your membership paywall.

5. Reviewing local restaurants

If many people within your town or city follow you on Instagram, restaurants will be interested in working with you, especially if your posts generate significant engagement.

How do food bloggers on Instagram make money through restaurant reviews, though?

Typically, they visit different restaurants to taste the foods and compare prices. Whichever restaurant offers the best food and prices will be mentioned on the blogger’s Instagram and other social media platforms.

Bloggers can also make money from these restaurant trips. Many restaurants pay bloggers to say good things about them because people trust peer recommendations more than brand content. 

Influencers visit local restaurants and write reviews to help readers around them dine out. Instagram reviews aren’t long articles and don’t take much time to create, but the impact can be massive and immediate.

Restaurants will be attracted by your offer, especially if you’re popular in the town or city. Influencers are severe marketing assets for restaurants, and any restaurant that’s very active online would want to hear your offer. Restaurants serious about marketing typically build a good working rapport with local influencers to promote their menu items.

Restaurants can either pay influencers in cash or provide free but expensive meals. Nonetheless, ensure that the restaurants you recommend to your followers are indeed excellent. This is why you should first visit these restaurants as a customer and only offer to partner with them if you like the food and prices. Always be completely honest with your reviews.

6. Selling cookbooks and related books

How do food bloggers on Instagram make money from selling items?

Many who follow your Instagram for your cooking skills will readily buy your cookbooks, provided you price them reasonably. Food bloggers usually announce on social media whenever they release a new eBook. Not every follower visits your blog regularly, so it’s only logical to announce it on Instagram so that most people see your new release early. The more fans know about your new book, the more sales you’ll likely make.

Another advantage of advertising your book on Instagram is that those who see it can share it with friends, even if these friends aren’t your followers. This is especially the case if someone buys the book and enjoys it. They can recommend it to people around them who probably never heard about you until that moment.

This is why you should be active on as many platforms as possible. Establishing other traffic sources besides search engines will help insulate your website from traffic drops due to algorithm changes.

Advertise, don’t sell, eBooks on Instagram

Instagram doesn’t allow users to purchase and automatically download digital items. This means you can’t sell your eBook on the platform like you would on Payhip, Gumroad, etc. When people pay for your eBook on these alternative platforms, it automatically generates a download link or sends it directly to their email.

How do food bloggers on Instagram then make money from eBooks by manually handling orders?

Practically, it’s possible

You can sell eBooks on Instagram to your followers, but the platform doesn’t have the facilities to verify purchases and fulfill orders. You have to send buyers the eBook manually via email. While this may sound easy, when the orders begin to pile up, you’ll understand the impossibility of running your eBook business on Instagram.

Imagine you receive 1,000 orders monthly, and the buyers contact you before placing them. The time you spend attending to each buyer, verifying payments, and emailing out the eBook may leave you no time to do other things like creating more content.

While steps like emailing can be automated, obtaining the email addresses and identifying the payer would be tedious or at least expensive to automate. The bottom line is you likely can’t set up a thriving eBook shop on Instagram, or at least it is far too much effort.

7. Selling online courses to followers

How do food bloggers on Instagram make money if you have an online course?

Some food bloggers use Instagram to sell their courses online. There are unique materials you can provide for fans that pay so that they can acquire as much knowledge as possible.

While you can’t host these courses on Instagram, you can post short video clips, pictures, and texts to raise awareness and interest among your followers. Usually, the link to your course will be available in the bio section, so interested persons can always find it easily. It’s not necessary to give your readers everything for free.

Advertising your course on Instagram will increase the number of prospective customers because those followers who don’t regularly visit your blog but are more active on Instagram will see it early enough. Secondly, among your followers are those who’ll share it with others if they enjoy the course.

As a creator, not everything you create will be free for followers. The more serious ones among your followers will be willing to pay for content. This is why creators design courses to reward followers who are willing to spend to learn more.

Courses work well with memberships too. You can have both to cover long-term members and those who want a one-off purchase. Currently, there are food bloggers making $200K annually from about 3,000 subscribers — and you can join this group by getting in touch today.

8. Selling merch online

How do food bloggers on Instagram make money with merchandise?

Some creators sell merchandise online. The merchandise monetization strategy is particularly ideal for those with a loyal following. The many print-on-demand products make selling branded items today easier than ever.

You can offer one of these print-on-demand products from manufacturers — just like drop shipping. When customers pay, you get their orders shipped to them. The problem is that you can’t automate such payments. And unless you have a US-based Instagram account, users can’t check out on the Instagram platform.

Even if you have a checkout feature, there are no advanced marketing tools for managing sales. For example, eBay has facilities for tracking item delivery and resolving disputes and others. However, such facilities aren’t available on Instagram.

Despite these limitations, you can still sell on Instagram. You can partner with big brands producing a wide range of items, where they could just print your logo or whatever branding symbol you have on the product as soon as a customer pays. Many fanatical supporters will buy, especially if they need that particular item. The emotional connection between creators and fans is what creators sometimes make use of to sell merchandise.

9. Advertising discount coupons

How much do food bloggers charge per post when promoting coupons?

As with sponsored posts, this depends on account size and engagement. Some brands will pay up to $10 or more per 1,000 followers.

Brands understand that it’s necessary sometimes to use discounts or coupon codes to stimulate sales. They can use it to gauge influencers’ performance, such as finding out who brings in the most customers. This enables them to only work with the best. They distribute unique coupon codes by which they can identify each influencer and which customers come through which.

When you send them a lot of customers, the merchant is delighted and may reward you with higher pay, send you gifts, or sign repeat and long-term contracts. 

Sometimes, customers aren’t in immediate need of the item but would buy it due to the influence of the blogger promoting it. They may see it as an opportunity that’s unlikely to always be available, which is valid for most products.


So, how do food bloggers on Instagram make money?

This detailed guide has successfully outlined nine key income-generating activities on Instagram for food bloggers. If you read until now, you’re now armed with everything necessary to design a unique monetization strategy on Instagram that provides your followers with the highest possible revenue.

Of course, we recommend tapping into the financial potential of Instagram by selling a thriving membership program powered by MealPro App. For one, this will provide a solid and long-term income source compared to many approaches. Try our app for free now, or contact us to learn more.

Frequently asked questions

How do food bloggers make money?

Food bloggers make money in many different ways. A newer and more profitable income stream for food bloggers is membership programs powered by MealPro App.

That said, some monetization channels for food bloggers include:

  • Display ads
  • Affiliate marketing
  • Brand promotion
  • Speaking gigs
  • Freelancing
  • Selling merchandise
  • Selling eBooks 
  • Offering online course

How do you get paid to post food on Instagram?

You need at least 1,000 followers and good engagement to monetize some of your Instagram posts. Your followers can buy directly from you or follow your affiliate links or coupons to shop online. Brands can pay you to say good things about their products, such as food ingredients, seasonings, or packaged food.

Do food bloggers have to pay for food?

Yes, particularly if you’re just starting out; likely not if you’re already established. Food bloggers can get free meals as a gift or part of a deal. In fact, the successful ones get a lot of free food and cooking ingredients from brands; therefore, they’re unlikely to spend as much as other people on food.

Do bloggers make money on Instagram?

Yes, food bloggers make thousands of dollars on Instagram promoting brands, and products, selling stuff, or simply driving traffic to their website to increase ad revenue.

In summary, food bloggers make money on Instagram through the following:

  • Brand promotion
  • Affiliate marketing
  • Coupon advertising
  • Selling merchandise
  • Driving blog traffic
  • Advertising eBooks and online courses

Is food blogging easy?

Yes, food blogging is easy if you have the passion for food. Otherwise, blogging can be frustrating as it doesn’t pay quickly unless you bring traffic from external sources, such as your social media account. For those who’re passionate about food, blogging about it will not only be easy but also pleasant. Therefore, unless you have the passion and talent for cooking a wide variety of foods, blogging in this niche will likely prove difficult for you.

How do you become a successful food blogger on Instagram?

To become a successful blogger on Instagram, you must provide valuable content, such as cooking tips and lessons that help followers. You have to care about your followers above money. Once you satisfy them, the money starts rolling in.

Is it too late to be a food blogger?

No, it’s never too late to start blogging in any niche, no matter how saturated, including food blogging. Cooking is a creative niche where new unique recipes always pop up. You can blog about foods, beverages, and cooking anywhere and anytime since not all recipes in the world are available in your country. Plus, you can always invent new recipes.

How do I get my food blog noticed?

You have to get more serious about SEO and marketing — these are necessary even if you produce the best food articles and videos. Like many other sectors, the food niche is saturated, and you must compete vigorously to crack the first page in Google for any keyword. Be more active on social media; publish unique and helpful content as often as possible; and optimize each post for visibility in searches.