Cooking Contest Best Practices
A cooking contest is a great way to engage your customers and help people think of creative ways to use your brand’s products, be it the food or kitchen products.
Keep It Simple
As with any contest, the key to a successful cooking contest is to keep the ask simple and the messaging clear. An open-ended call for entries could create issues if you end up having to judge a simple fruit salad against a complicated stew or a kale smoothie. On the flip side, if you are too specific about what types of recipes can be submitted into your cooking contest people will lose their creativity in what they submit. The key is to give consumers a category – ice cream deserts, meat and potatoes, fun with fish, etc. By asking for a certain type of dish or baking theme you give them a track to run on without being overly general or too narrow. For example, asking for only “whole turkey recipes” might get you a few entries, but asking for recipes for “using leftover turkey after Thanksgiving” will get you more entries and a greater variety.
Once you have nailed down the type of food recipes you are looking for, you can concentrate on what you want entries to look like. Remember this isn’t a live show, and the consumer needs to submit an entry that can be judged without having to taste or smell the initial submissions. You can ask for full recipes, but keep in mind that this may overcomplicate the process and keep your number of entries low — the more you ask of consumers the fewer entries you typically get. One solution: since a picture is worth a thousand words, let them make their dish and submit a photo and a description as an initial phase of the contest, asking for full recipes later. You could even run this initial phase on social channels like Instagram, and narrow down the submissions to top entries using photos and descriptions only.
You are mostly likely running a cooking contest because you want the consumers to use your product in some way, shape or form as part of the recipe they submit. That’s great, just make sure the recipe you are requesting they submit is something they can actually make with your product. For example, do not ask them to submit a dessert if your product is shrimp. You want consumers to be creative — but the end product should be edible!
Judging your Cooking Contest Entries
You might be saying to yourself – how do I judge the entries in my cooking contest if I am not a chef? How will that work? As in all contests, keep your judging criteria simple and focused and on point to your brand. Use pictures to judge initial submissions. If time allows, add in a round of judging where a bakeoff or live round of cooking can take place. And your judges should be people in the food industry so when they look at a photo and read the description of the dish or ingredients and how it was made they can tell that the dish is something people would eat and like.
If you are interested in running a cooking contest, contact us and we can help!
Marden-Kane VP Peggy Seeloff contributed this post.
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