Tag Archives: trade show food giveaways

Tips for Edible Trade Show Giveaways


Finding the perfect trade show giveaway items are tough. You want them to be unique, memorable, properly branded and you want them at an affordable cost. Have you ever considered edible as a trait you’d like your giveaways to be?

We don’t mean giving away food, but actually edible giveaway items.

Some companies have tied to make their advertisements edible.

Volkswagen ran a magazine ad they said you could eat. It was made of glutinous rice flour, water, salt, propylene glycol, FD&C color and glycerine.  JetBlue used an edible paper ad by trying to make a paper page that tastes like a potato chip to help promote their all you can eat snacks on flights.

Those don’t sound extremely appetizing but the Videri Chocolate Factory used chocolate posters which seems like a much better idea because sticks to their brand pretty well and that’s an important point.

Edible trade show giveaways can be a good idea but, you probably want to steer clear of paper ads like the previous two that aren’t really edible. If you’re going to do a trade show food giveaway, might sure it’s truly edible and is going to taste good. Giving away something like flavored paper will leave a bad taste in attendee’s mouth about your company, literally and figuratively.

Don’t turn business cards into something edible and beware of custom branded wrapped food. Plastic water bottles or wrapped candy or snacks with your company’s logo all over it can be pretty interesting, but remember that those eventually get thrown away and the shelf life of their impact may be short.

Putting your logo on M&Ms or Skittles might be a little smarter, but so is giving them away in a tin or reusable container that has your logo on it.

There are some interesting ways you can go with personalized edible items as giveaways. For a hardware or home improvement company exciting at a trade show, there’s a company that makes molded chocolate in the shape of tools.

It’s important to follow some general key practices with edible trade show giveaways.

  1. Stay on Brand: Like the molded chocolate in the shape of tools, if you go this route, make sure it fits in with your company and industry or who you are trying to sell your product to.
  2. Food Allergies: Be mindful of edible’s that might contain products that people with food allergies might be sensitive too, therefore limiting potential interested attendees.
  3. Know Your Audience: This goes with staying on brand, but keep in mind the kind of attendees at a show you’re looking to attract to your booth and consider foods or items that will likely appeal to them.
  4. Make it Travel Friendly: Attendees are likely on the go and in a hurry at trade shows, so anything you give away that’s food related should be able to consume on the run.

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