Last year, the pandemic “condensed five years of e-commerce growth into three months,” according to McKinsey.1 Consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies had been flocking to Instagram to make their products known but the new landscape of digital advertising has created a competitive environment unlike any other. Now, the heightened competition for mindshare in a visual space means looks are everything. Learn the top five ways to make your CPG food products stand out on Instagram, Tik Tok or whatever comes next and connect with today’s consumers.
The word “photography” literally means drawing with light. Good lighting is essential to producing the clear, detailed photographs that can highlight the creamy texture of ice cream or the rich color of tomato soup. And since consumers “eat with their eyes” first, Instagram provides the perfect opportunity for food manufacturers to hook the consumer.
Lighting can also be used to link a product to a particular mood, feeling, or eating occasion. For example, dimmer lighting or the use of shadows can sell the concept of an indulgent chocolate bar that’s perfect for a late night snack.
Colors can be used to signal the energy of a product. For example, bright, bold background colors like red, or even neon colors, work well for sports drinks or products targeting kids. Moreover, using a consistent color scheme on Instagram—especially one that matches the product packaging—helps reinforce the brand identity.
If the product has a vibrant color (like a yellow cheese sauce or a green smoothie), use a white background to show it off. If it doesn’t, consider if a product refresh might help. Packaged snack cakes with white icing might do better (on Instagram and on the shelf) with yellow icing or sprinkled with edible glitter for a pop of color.
3. A Lifestyle Theme
Understanding your target consumers is key to creating images that will resonate with them. Photos of the great outdoors will appeal to outdoor enthusiasts and tie in well with on-the-go snacks like granola bars. Be sure to include images of people that match the target group using the product.
A lifestyle theme could be urban or rural, single living or family life, minimalist or extravagant. Help consumers see themselves in your brand images, whether they're relatable or aspirational.
4. Recipes and Presentation Ideas
Instagram is the perfect venue for showcasing recipe ideas. Show your audience how the product fits into their lives, and how it can make life easier or more fun. For example, no-fat yogurt can double as a healthy dip, while breakfast cereal can be used to make cereal cookies.
Use images to recommend garnishes, food and beverage pairings, and creative food plating tips. Top cereals with blueberries and raspberries, sprinkle fresh cut herbs onto soups, and be sure to include a cup of coffee next to your donuts!
5. Celebrate a Holiday
Create online buzz with festive food photos for each holiday. Consider how your CPG food product is relevant to a holiday or other national event—as part of a traditional Thanksgiving dinner or maybe as a Super Bowl party snack. In addition to traditional product shots, be sure to include a few photos of people enjoying the product at the event.