Tag Archives: best trade show giveaways

Food as a Trade Show Promo Item: Do’s and Don’ts


There is a never ending list of trade show promotional giveaway items. Some are better than others and not every type of promotional giveaway item is going to fit in with your brand, budget or trade show. Trade show food can be a sticky subject as a table giveaway item. So, which ones are OK to giveaway and which ones aren’t?

First tip – don’t giveaway sticky food items.


Something in a wrapper: Whatever food giveaway you might up to try, it’s a good idea to make sure it’s something in a sealed wrapper. It’s more hygienic and gives attendees the option of putting it in their bag for future consumption.  Also, giving away food items with a wrapper that lists nutritional ingredients is considerate to attendees with food allergies.



Open-air food: You might think that having a box of donuts, tray of cookies or baked goods at your table will get some ooh’s and ah’s and interest from attendees. It might, especially in the morning and maybe from the media even. It’s tempting in theory but open air food can be a little unsanitary. People are picking away at different selections without gloves and hairnets. Maybe most people won’t care because they want to partake in free baked goods but be aware of potential health risks both sanitary and nutrition.


Power bars: It goes along with the wrapped food theme but power bars make a lot of sense because attendees can eat them on the go, they’re not messy and generally good for anyone who is health conscious. If you’re going to use food as a promotional tool, give potential leads something that can give them a boost. They might remember you for it.


Alcohol: No, it’s not a food but there are some exhibitors at shows who will set out drinks like champagne at their table. There are plenty of expos and shows that have after-show mixers and events that provide a drink ticket for attendees. Let the show take care of that. It seems kind of edgy but it’s also risky and could be expensive. Avoid the liability and utilize your promo budget elsewhere.


Container food items: Mint containers, candy jars, popcorn tubs are all cool, reusable items. They can be stuffed with food or mints/gum and attendees might be able to make use of them after the show. It’s a good opportunity for you to giveaway branded items that actually might have some substantial, post-show value.


Nothing homemade:  Bringing homemade food as a trade show promotional item is a not a good practice. Some think this is a unique way to connect with customers or be a conversation starter and they’re saving some money, but in reality it’s not a great practice. Trade shows aren’t the place to show off your culinary skills unless you’re in the business of food.

Do…or don’t


Branded candy/packaged food: Giving away M&Ms or other candy that you can either customize the item or the packaging that it comes in seems like a good idea. It’s certainly a unique, easy to manage branding opportunity. However, consider that these wrappers will be thrown away and the food will either be eaten or in the garbage with the wrapper – along with your branding opportunity