How Much Money Do Food Bloggers Make?

Have you ever wondered about the amount of work that goes into a food blog? It takes hours to travel and discover the best places for food – it’s essentially a full-time job. So how much money do these food bloggers make for their efforts?

Food is one of the necessities in life. Let’s also not forget how much it brings everyone together. From taste to the aroma, and even texture, there’s a massive variety in every country.

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With the Internet, food introductions and reviews are now available online, thanks to thousands of food bloggers. If you’re interested in learning more about these intrepid explorers or thinking about joining their ranks, read on.

Understanding Food Blogging

Food blogs often beautifully showcase culinary creations (Source: Pinch of Yum)

The basis of food blogging is, naturally, the blog. This digital journal is a place to share your thoughts with others and usually centers around a particular topic or theme. In this case, you'll be blogging about food. 

Most start their blogs as a hobby. However, as time goes by, they see an opportunity to forge careers. Top food bloggers can earn well over $50,000-100,000 per month. Pinch of Yum co-founders Lindsay and Bjork Ostrom made enough money by 2014 to make food blogging their full-time jobs. By the end of 2016, they earned over $90,000 a month.

 In general, there are three types of food blogs:

  • Cooking blogs typically cover anything about food. You usually showcase your food creations and recipes alongside photos of the steps taken to cook.
  • Niche food blogs drill down to specific food elements, such as vegan or gluten-free foods. Some may even share the lifestyle that accompanies the food they promote. It is all about only one aspect of food. 
  • Food reviewing blogs share their experiences when trying different foods. The blogs might also include reviews on recipes, cookbooks, restaurants, and more. 

Read more – How to start a successful blog

So, How Much Do Real Food Bloggers Earn?

Before sharing a few examples, I’d like to remind everyone of the thousands of food blogs currently online. These vary widely in size and earnings. At the lower end of the scale, you could have food blogs with no income at all. On the upper end, the sky’s the limit.

Here are some of the more successful ones;

1. Pinch of Yum – Over $90,000/month

Pinch of Yum has always been the benchmark that many find inspiration from when starting their journey on food blogging. Not surprising as this site has bloomed to be one of the many very successful food blogs ever. 

What started as a casual hobby turned into a full-time and wholesome business with millions of readers. Owner Lindsay shares tasty and healthy recipes that she loves. Continuously creating new recipes is what spurs her on. 

Unlike many others, Lindsay and her husband Bjork published all their expenses and earnings online, until 2017 where they decided to stop.

Pinch of Yum started in April 2010, and even after more than a year into this, they drew only $21.97 in August 2011. Persistence paid off, though, and income steadily to over $90,000 a month. In November 2016 alone, Pinch of Yum earned $95,197.34.

Most of their income came in from ads and sponsored content. Aside from this, their partnering with Amazon and an ebook venture contributed to revenue.

2. TiffyCooks – $45,000 – $55,000/month

A love for food inspired TiffyCooks. Owner Tiffy started to explore using different ingredients to re-enact similar Asian recipes that she missed (she moved to Vancouver). Then working full time, she soon switched to being a full-time food blogger. 

Her recipes are varied, ranging from primarily Asian to some being Western. You can search for the said recipes based on ingredients, or if you’re running short of time and need to whip up something quickly, there’s the ‘20 minutes and less’ section. 

As of Oct 2021 (one and half years down the road), she made $45,000 – $55,000/month. Her income is mainly from website ads which bring in half of her revenue. Next was striking up deals with specific brands that got 35% more.

3. A Sassy Spoon – Over $7,000/month

Jamie worked as a digital strategist in the culinary industry when she started her food blog – A Sassy Spoon, in early 2016. Inspired by the success of Pinch of Yum, she created A Sassy Spoon to represent mostly Cuban food vigorously. Hence, her blog showcases the more classic Cuban recipes and some Latin-inspired food.

Putting a twist to the recipes, Jamie created her Cuban recipes, experimenting with the more decadent flavors. It’s become her full-time job as she invested in converting a corporate office into a full-blown kitchen where she cooked and developed her new recipes. 

In 2018, she reported an income of $85,008.66, with more than half (52.7%) coming in from ads, 24.7% from freelance photography, and 16.7% from sponsored content. The rest were from affiliate marketing and contributors’ content.

4. Fork in the Road – $1,666/month

Fork in the Road by Kristina shows off more ‘green’ recipes with highlights on vegetables, nutrition, and health. The owner is a registered dietitian who wants to inspire others to take the greener path in their lifestyle. 

She started food blogging in 2015 when Fork in the Road was born. In 2018, Fork in the Road became a full-fledged business. That year alone, the blog brought in $20,081.30. Out of this figure, $9500 was contributed by freelance writing, photography, and design, while sponsored content brought in $7,500. 

She also did consulting jobs that helped her earn $2,000. The rest came in from ads, affiliate marketing, and coaching.

Read more – Step-by-step guide to start your own food blog

How Food Bloggers Make Money

Digital advertising revenues, a significant source of income for food bloggers, have grown steadily over the years. (Source: Statista)

There are many ways food bloggers earn money – advertising, affiliate sales, and even direct sponsorships from companies. Not all may choose the same mix of revenue streams, and some may stick to one or combine several.

If you’re interested in building a food blog, here are some potential options open for consideration;

1. Sponsored Blog Content

You either reach out to the Food and Beverage (F&B) brands, or they may approach you. You’ll then create content based on the given guidelines and promote it on your blog and relevant social media channels. It is a straightforward arrangement where a brand purchases content on your blog to promote its products.

The downside of sponsored content is that having too much of it may cost you the confidence of your readers. They might see your blog as a “shill” for brands and lose interest in the content you’re putting out.

2. Ad Revenue (via an Ad Network)

You can choose to join an online advertising network, aka ad network, and they’ll help connect you to advertisers. Because of the ease of use this system offers, it’s a popular choice for new food bloggers. You won’t need to invest much time and effort dealing directly with advertisers. 

The problem with ad networks is that they’re usually traffic-based. Unless you have a massive readership, the earnings can be paltry, making it difficult to survive. Some ad networks even impose minimum quotas, below which you might get booted out of the program.

3. Affiliate Marketing

You may be surprised, but affiliate marketing is a significant contributor to food blogs. This profit model relies on independent content from food blogs to attract the eye towards specific products or services. Blog owners earn commissions for each sale referred via their blog.

There are several affiliate programs that you can look into for food blogs:

  • Freshdirect – Online grocery shopping.
  • FarmFoods – Focuses on healthy and sustainable meat.
  • Home Chef – Food delivery affiliate programs focusing on meal kits containing fresh ingredients and easy-to-follow recipes for home cooks.

The good thing about affiliate marketing is that you retain much control over your content. However, you need to manage each affiliate program to which you subscribe. 

4. Be a Brand Ambassador

Signing up as a brand ambassador would mean you become the spokesperson for that brand for an agreed time (anywhere from several months to more than a year). You must create content for them on their websites and social media channels. Also, you may need to appear at their public events.  

Being a brand ambassador is usually a longer-term commitment. Think of it as a mutually beneficial partnership between you and the brand. However, this can take up a lot of your time and effort, so you may not have time for your other tasks. 

Keep in mind that once you sign up as a brand ambassador, it is highly likely that you can’t work for the competitors for a time, even after the contract is over.

5. Photo Royalties

If taking beautiful photos of food is your thing, you might make money selling licenses to use your images. You can do so directly via your blog or a stock photography website. You receive payment whenever anyone downloads your pictures from one of these sites. 

6. Coaching or Consulting

Consulting makes sense when you’ve got a specialized skill for particular culinary skills. You can set up an online class or workshop. Then, promote it via your blog and all your social media channels. You can also sign up to teach in cooking schools or even offer private teaching sessions for people at their homes. 

Don’t forget that you can teach people how to start a successful blog, too, sharing the pitfalls you’ve been through so that others can avoid them. 

Read more – How to make more money blogging

What You Need to Build a Food Blog

For many of you, starting a food blog may seem daunting. However, as long as you’re determined and passionate about food, it can be manageable. Have a go at the following list, and you’ll soon find yourself happily blogging away:

1. Figure Out Your Food Blog Theme/Niche

Before diving head-down into anything, you first need to figure out your food blog theme. Is there a particular niche to it, like focusing on Korean food? Or do you want your food blog to cover a broader spectrum of food? Bear in mind that there are already tons of food blogs. 

So, getting on the wagon would mean you’ll need to do your due diligence and figure out the best way to break through and outperform this vast amount of competition.

2. Cook Up a Name for Your Blog 

You may think this is the easiest part, but you couldn’t be farther from the truth. Brewing a suitable name for your new blog isn’t a piece of cake. However, you can do it. You just need to throw in all the words that come to mind that describe your cooking style, your lifestyle, and your background. 

Find something descriptive, memorable, and catchy too. Then, sit on this for a time until something stands out and speaks to you. 

3. Decide Your Blogging Platform

WordPress is the most popular blogging platform in the world.

With the advancement of technology, you’ll now be able to build your blog easily, and yes, you don’t even need any prior coding skills! You just need a reliable blogging platform like a Content Management System (CMS). Then, you can create, publish, edit, organize, and manage your blog online.

A highly popular CMS that has dominated more than half the market share is WordPress. It is easy to use and intuitive, best suited for beginners and more experienced pros. WordPress continuously updates to fix any existing issues, and its customization options are so many, you’ll find using WordPress a safe and excellent platform to start your blogging journey.  

Even better is that many web hosts offer WordPress-specific web hosting plans.

4. Choose Your Hosting Platform

Web hosts offer many packages to suit various needs (Source: LiquidWeb)

Web hosting is a service provided by a web host with the necessary technologies and infrastructure to view your food blog online. Your web host rents out the space on its web server to store all the files (code, media, etc.) needed to get your blog running. 

There are many types of web hosting around, and these come at different price points. Picking the right one is essential since it affects the quality of your blog – something vital to your readers.

Food blogging may not be as easy as some think. After all, everyone has different taste buds – a man’s food is another man's poison, and food is, after all, very personal. Some would say food blogging is an art in itself. As such, some would nitpick on every single little thing – the way and what you write, the images you use, and the steps too. 

Food blogging is fun, but the game changes once it becomes a full-time profession. It can still be fun, but it won’t be all sunshine and smiles. If you are serious about doing this, you’ll find that its demands can be challenging, making it hard for you to enjoy a healthy work-life balance. 

Also, it used to be easier to make money from food blogging in the past. Now, there are more than ever competing for a slice of the pie. The staggering amount of content production also drives up reader expectations. 

Hence, keeping up with the rapid changes in technology is more than enough to drive most up the wall. Don’t forget the ever-evolving Search Engine Optimization (SEO) challenges that many, even those already successful, find hard to grasp. 

Conclusion

Are you ready to start a food blog and monetize it? Food blogging is trendy nowadays, and it can be a profitable endeavor for anyone with a passion for it. However, nothing comes for free, so you’ll have to invest much time, effort, and commitment into this. That said, it all can quickly become well worth your time. 

Take advantage of the emergence of many different technologies and social media platforms that can help make your blogging journey simpler. So, even if you’re not tech-savvy, the many available tools and software can help make your dream of creating your food blog a reality. 

Ultimately, you’d want your food blog to become much more than a simple passive income opportunity; you’d like to share and grow along with your audience, all in the name of food. So, have a go at this and see where your food blog takes you.

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Article by Jason Chow