Social media trends in the food and drink industry for 2021.

Towards the end of last year, I worked on a social media strategy for a business based in central Scotland (I call Aberdeen home), they are in the food and drink industry but their social media channels were brand new.  That is both a good thing and a bad thing as brand new means no insights and data; but also good as that means *woah* a brand new page to cultivate exactly as it should be. Like no bad habits to filter out or bad photography to archive. 

I don’t believe that anything in the digital marketing and world of social media is that clean cut, but if it was that would be my pro and cons list.

Why do we need a social media strategy? 

We’ve spoken about a social media strategy quite a bit of late, it’s a pretty big deal really as that’s the difference between banging your head trying to gain traction on social media with trends as opposed to knowing what you trying to build and then building it. 

It’s a starting point for any new client from my point of view as without the goal (strategy),! 

If you want to read a bit more about a social media strategy, you can jump over here, but for now let’s talk about social media trends for the food and drink industry in 2021! 

Social media trends for 2021. 

Like I said at the start, a brand new social media account means no data and insight to go from for a social media audit; I spent a fair bit of time researching social media and content treads for the food and drink industry during the strategy-writing process as without the numbers from an audit I have very little direction for a strategy and plan.

We need to start somewhere, so the next best thing would be industry trends or social media content trends in the industry if you like. 

Suz Bird, Social media Strategist at Bird and Emmy

Just so we know, trends need to be around for longer than a day (that’s a social viral thing); so trends keep coming up as a thing over a period of a few months. Equally, a trend does leave eventually as a new one takes over. 

Cool, so here are some trends that kept coming up as a big deal in the food and drink industry. 

User Generated Content 

Sharing content via stories or in a post that has been created from someone who has used your product, enjoyed your service or bought something from you is a pretty big deal and it’s important that you find a way to tie that into your social media strategy. 

Social Proof

User Generated Content takes us nicely into social-proofing, which is a big deal; authentic, self-made and true content ranks higher than brand-heavy and perfection at the moment (both characteristics of content that is often associated with a more traditional advertising campaign).

Honest communication

Social media in the food and drink industry is often linked (and used) as a customer service platform, research has found that “honesty is the best policy” when dealing with customers in a social media environment; particularly when that customer is a little upset about a product or service. Take it offline if you can. 

Influencer Marketing

Particularly amongst the micro-influencer world that is often viewed as “more real” and ties in with User Generated Content and content that is created around sharing reviews, stories, comments and photos of visitors.

It’s important to remember influencer marketing can work around engagement too and not just in a #gifted campaign environment. Definitely a whole conversation (blog) in its own right. 

Corporate Social Responsibility

People are responding positively to brands that stand for something and communicate those values to their audience. Key themes and keywords like “sustainability”, “inclusivity” and “morality” keep coming up and it’s important to your audience that your social media has a “voice” that goes beyond paying lip service to a passing hashtag day.

“Mouth-watering” content

So this one might seem obvious for the food industry, but high quality and unfiltered images are vital for this market, particularly on Instagram which is primarily a visual platform; short and snappy captions are leading the way to accompany these images too. 

ASA (Advertising Standards Authority) have not long issued this statement around filters in the beauty industry that “it is now advised that brands/influencers/celebrities are not to apply filters to photos which promote beauty products” and that standard has filtered into content in the food and drink industry too. 


Hashtags are important in the online food and drink industry as are used by “foodies” to discover new places to visit or things to eat, drink, buy and try. Think the explore feed after a good sugar high! In fact, think about the explore feed (and newly launched keywords) as a big deal all round.

Behind-the-scenes content

The story-functionality on each platform is important in your social media strategy as behind-the-scenes content like food and drink preparation, recipes, “how-tos”, day-in-the-life content and “meet the team” features are super popular. We like that popular and engaging type-content right? And stories help us with the much-coveted authentic vibe too. 

What about existing social media platforms?

Like I said at the start, a social media strategy and a content trends are different things; but when starting from scratch or when looking to make some changes to an existing strategy, it’s worth it to take some time to look around and take on board emerging or existing trends.

Questions or a little confused? Thats ok, its wordy! You can book a 1-2-1 half day session with me or a quick fire 1-2-1 mini session by going here. See you on Instagram! #BirdandEmmy

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