The results are in on the top 100 health food brands on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
From protein bars to vegan meat alternatives to snacks we can’t keep our hands off of, we’ve got the definitive rankings for the top-performing health food brands on social. We sourced 100 of the most popular, engaging, and mouthwatering brands for the ultimate snacking showdown. Now that your curiosity is piqued and your stomach is rumbling, let’s dive into the rankings.
Spoilers! See the full Health Food rankings.Grab your report here
Top Overall Health Food Brands on Social
Congratulations to all the winning health food brands on social media this year! Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams grabbed the gold in both our overall and Instagram rankings, making this tasty ice cream a force to be reckoned with on social. Beyond Meat gave Jeni’s a run for their money with second-place finishes both overall and on Instagram, and Perfect Snacks rounded out the podium with the overall bronze thanks to top 10 finishes on all three channels.
|Overall Rank||Health Food Brands||Rank||Rank||Rank|
|8||GT’S Living Foods||20||3||12|
|9||Dave’s Killer Bread||11||17||15|
|10||Cado Ice Cream||15||15||20|
The top 10 represent a glorious mix of snacks, beverages, meal replacements, and vegan and vegetarian options, demonstrating that there’s no silver bullet for health food brands on social. This diversity levels the playing field and confirms that the best health food brands on social performed well not because of what they were offering their customers but how they were offering it. Let’s jump into the health food brands with the highest engagement and top trends.
Top Health Food brand: Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams
Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams earned the overall and Instagram gold with colorful posts, mouthwatering glamour shots of ice cream, and short and sweet captions. It’s also worth noting that Jeni’s grew their followers by 15% this year across all three channels and posted consistently, which are healthy stats that help explain their success. Since this brand was especially successful on Instagram, let’s dive in there.
This carousel captivated followers this year thanks to the world’s most adorable one-year-old celebrating his birthday with a faceful of Jeni’s, and was the brand’s most engaging post on both Facebook and Instagram this year. Cute babies could work for almost any brand, but it’s the choice of a carousel that really takes this post from good to great. Instagram carousels get re-served to users who don’t engage the first time, earning them more impressions.
Jeni’s orange and blue ice cream collab with ultra-popular rapper Tyler, the Creator led to some of their most engaging Instagram posts of the year. This carousel (again with the carousels!) showing some behind-the-scenes shots from Jeni’s HQ and the collaborative process resonated with fans to the tune of an 11.5% engagement rate. Posts tagged with the #PlutoBleu hashtag averaged a 5.18% engagement rate, which is 6x the health food brand Instagram engagement rate median. Fans love when two great tastes come together, and this collaboration really brings that idea home.
Jeni’s loved a short, pithy caption this year, especially when it accompanied a mouthwatering shot of their colorful ice cream. This Instagram post engaged followers with a simple invite to name this ice cream trio poorly, and answers like, “Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner,” and “Mrs. Scarlett, in the library, with the candlestick” led to giggles and almost 15,000 engagements on Instagram. Asking followers for engagement in the form of tagging a friend or responding in the comments may feel like a no-brainer, but really is one of the most powerful tools brands have to increase engagement on their posts.
Top Trend 1: Contests and giveaways
Contests and giveaways have proved a successful strategy for nearly every industry we’ve surveyed over the last few years, and health food brands are no exception. These brands used social to give away everything from products to gift baskets to vouchers and coupons. Giveaway posts see some of the highest engagement rates of the year for many of these brands, so it’s no surprise that so many of them turn to contests to help engage their followers and find new ones.
Protein bar brand Grenade saw killer engagement with a simple Instagram giveaway of two variety packs of their popular Carb Killa bar. This brand saw a lot of contest success this year thanks to two smart strategies. As you can see above, Grenade asked their followers to tag their squad, but allowed only one tag per comment, which helped increase engagement on the post. On many of their top-performing contest posts, Grenade encourages followers to check back on the original post to find out who won the contest, which further increases impressions and engagement on their contest posts. These strategies are definitely worth stealing for brands just starting out with contests.
Smoothie brand Everipe also saw epic success with a giveaway thanks to strategies like posting the winner in the original contest post and encouraging one entry per comment. Everipe upped the ante even more by giving away a prize package featuring several different brands, which encouraged cross-promotion, and also encouraged followers to share the post in their Stories for an extra entry. These supercharged strategies led to a 24.8% engagement rate on this post, which was their most engaging of the year.
Contests are a tried and true method for energizing current followers and recruiting new ones, so grab some merch and start giving it away for free if your brand isn’t already taking advantage of this engagement strategy.
Top Trend 2: Recipes
Health food and recipes go together like (all-natural) peanut butter and (sugar-free) jelly, so it’s no surprise that recipes were a common theme threading through many of the top health food brand social media posts this year. From in-line recipes to cookbook giveaways, health food brands loved sharing fun ways to use their products with their followers.
Plant-based health food company Alpha Foods offered followers a fun, free, and healthy take on a fast food favorite in this high-performing Instagram post. The post rocked a 3.95% engagement rate, which is about 5x the Instagram median. As we saw in the contest trend above, offering your followers free stuff is never a bad idea, but pairing it with an influencer and a top fast food brand can take your recipe posts from good to great.
Mary’s Gone Crackers followers loved this recipe idea to the tune of a 20.6% engagement rate. The brand used a free recipe to entice followers off Facebook and onto their website, which was a smart and popular strategy for health food brands. Social media followers are much more likely to stumble upon their new favorite product on a brand’s website than on a social media channel, so many brands used links or “link in bio” on Instagram to motivate followers to hit the web.
Showing your followers new ways to use your product is always a good idea–especially when you can also increase your web traffic.
Top Trend 3: New releases
Health food brands flocked to social media to announce new flavors and product releases, and their followers ate it up. Social media is a great place to stir up buzz for new products, especially when paired with contests or discount codes on the new loot.
Bouncy bean brand Bada Bean Bada Boom wasn’t shy about telling the world about its new everything bagel bean. This new release post grabbed a 7.86% engagement rate on Instagram thanks to a mouthwatering photo, a bonus discount code, and lots of hashtags. Bada Bean shows us that a new release photo doesn’t have to break the mold to be successful on social.
Popular plant-based brand Amy’s combined two of this year’s most successful social media engagement strategies into one superpost: new releases and contests. Amy’s asked followers to spread the word about their new Vegan Cheeze Meals in exchange for the chance to win a case of the stuff, which led to a killer 14.1% Instagram engagement rate. Many other health food brands we studied rocked a similar combo, reminding us that recruiting your followers to do your work for you with the promise of some free merch can really help health food brands get ahead on social.
Don’t be afraid to mix and match popular health food social media trends when planning your strategy for 2021.
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Top Health Food Brands on Instagram
It’s no surprise that health food brands saw the highest median engagement rates of any channel on Instagram (just like every other industry ever) at 0.82%. These brands saw about 8x the engagement on Instagram as they did on Facebook and 20x what they saw on Twitter. These engagement rates are a little below the all-industry Instagram median of 1.22%, suggesting these brands have further to go to make the most of this ultra-engaging channel.
|Rank||Health Food Brands||Total Engagement||Engagement Rate|
As we saw above, Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams grabbed the highest engagement rates of the year on Instagram, which led to their #1 spot both on Instagram and overall. #2 overall winner Beyond Meat was hot on Jeni’s heels, and brands like Van Leeuwen Ice Cream and soda brand OLIPOP didn’t break into the overall top 10 but scored well on Instagram.
Featured brand: Beyond Meat
It was a photo finish for plant-based meat substitute Beyond Meat this year. This brand ranked second overall and on Instagram this year and were beat out by first-place winner Jeni’s by just a few points. Beyond Meat’s environmentally-conscious followers loved their social media posts that reinforced the brand’s commitment to saving the planet. Community partnerships and celeb endorsements helped round out this health food brand’s high engagement on social this year.
It’s also worth noting that Beyond Meat has the biggest Instagram following of any health food brand we surveyed this year, which is a double-edged sword: they have lots of potential followers to reach with each post, but they have to work harder to capture the interest of a high percentage of these followers to score stronger engagement rates than their competitors with fewer followers.
This Instagram post really resonated with Beyond Meat’s followers by putting their mission to encourage plant-based eating front and center. The brand rocked a 2.34% engagement rate on this post without so much as a product mention or plug by reminding followers that health food can be good for the consumer and good for the planet. Many of the other top social posts we saw from health food brands really leaned on personal health by encouraging followers to cut calories or increase vitamins, but Beyond Meat bucked the trend with this post focused on animal welfare.
Beyond Meat took plant-based meat out of the natural food aisle and into the fast food mainstream with their partnership with KFC this year to great success on social. This post rolling out their vegetarian chicken nuggets in Southern California rocked the brand’s highest Instagram engagement rate of the year, suggesting this mainstream brand partnership really resonated with followers. A 6.25% Instagram engagement rate is great for any brand, but that rate meant Beyond Meat engaged almost 60,000 followers with this post, which is finger-lickin’-good engagement by our count.
Celebrity endorsements can go a long way for social engagement, and this Beyond Meat post appealed to Snoop Dogg and Dunkin’ Donuts fans as well as plant-based meat enthusiasts. This simple post featured a limited-time offer and a photo of Snoop and excited followers to the tune of a 3.51% engagement rate on Instagram. Beyond Meat also partnered with Martha Stewart, Carl’s Jr., Hardee’s, Kevin Hart, and many more big brands and celebs this year to help their product go mainstream.
Top Health Food Brands on Facebook
Health food brands saw engagement rates of 0.11% on Facebook this year, which is just above our Social Media Industry Benchmark Report average of 0.09%. These brands posted just 2.8 times per week on Facebook, which is about half as often as the average brand on social media this year. Many of this year’s top Facebook posts from health food brands scored great engagement rates by featuring contests, recipes, celebs and influencers, and the occasional creative product release.
|Rank||Health Food Brands||Total Engagement||Engagement Rate|
|2||Mary’s Gone Crackers||76,048||1.178%|
|3||GT’S Living Foods||245,473||0.618%|
|4||Love Grown Foods||12,360||1.269%|
|10||Real Good Foods||173,515||0.241%|
It’s interesting to note that many of the top-performing health food brands on Facebook like Kite Hill and Mary’s Gone Crackers weren’t top scorers on Twitter or Instagram. These brands have focused their content on Facebook, and it’s paying off. This selective success is a good reminder that you don’t have to be good at everything to succeed on social.
Featured brand: GT’s Living Foods
Kombucha superstar GT’s Living Foods grabbed the Facebook bronze and eighth place overall by bucking the trends and going their own way. GT’s Living Foods’ Facebook strategy was much less reliant on contests and giveaways than other top-performing brands, preferring instead to highlight inspirational quotes and ingredient deep dives.
GT’s Living Foods grabbed more than 12,000 engagements and an engagement rate of 9.67% with this simple post about the health benefits of ginger. They delivered facts to their knowledge-hungry Facebook followers without including so much as a link to purchase their product or a logo in the photo. This type of genuine content without product placement goes a long way on social media these days, and GT’s Living Foods frequently found success on Facebook this year with authentic posts like these. The brand averaged a 1.92% engagement rate per #Ginger post, suggesting their followers really vibe with this ingredient.
Some of GT’s Living Foods’ most engaging Facebook posts featured inspirational quotes alongside the #WordsofEnlightenment and #WednesdayWisdom hashtags. The brand again eschewed product placement or links to buy in favor of expressive quotes like this one. Followers loved it to the tune of a 9.56% engagement rate, which is more than 86x the Facebook health food brand median.
Like so many brands this year, GT’s Living Foods worked hard to give back to first responders working tirelessly to fight coronavirus. Followers loved seeing the hardworking people enjoying a gift from their favorite brand to the tune of a 6.6% engagement rate. A health food brand celebrating healthcare workers? Makes perfect sense and is very on brand for GT’s Living Foods’ commitment to wellness.
Top Health Food Brands on Twitter
Health food brands saw average engagement rates of 0.04% on Twitter this year, which was in line with the average for other industries, but tweeted less frequently at just 4 tweets per week. Even though their total tweet counts were low, we did see some serious attention to customer service when studying reply tweets for health food brands: more than half of all the health food brand tweets we looked at were replies to customers and followers. This strategy really matters on a channel where so many people go to find answers from brands they consume, so we bestow an extra gold star on health food brands on Twitter for their conscientious approach to customer service.
|Rank||Health Food Brands||Total Engagement||Engagement Rate|
|3||Real Good Foods||2,888||2.072%|
Our gold medalist on Twitter this year was Wholly Guacamole, who just couldn’t keep up on Facebook or Instagram, putting them in 80th in our overall ranking. Other brands like Caulipower and RXBAR also scored well on Twitter but lagged behind on other channels, while brands like Spindrift and Perfect Snacks were able to grab high marks on Twitter as well as Facebook and Instagram.
Do these brands who ranked high on Twitter but low on other channels need to change their strategy? Not necessarily. Twitter is in its own category on social because it’s a channel where one-to-one, personal conversations can really shine. Keep doing what you’re doing, health food brands (but maybe try to shake up your strategy a little on Facebook and Instagram if you’re trying to do the same thing there as you are on Twitter).
Featured brand: Spindrift
Sparkling water brand Spindrift performed well on social this year with a sixth place finish overall and the silver on Twitter. Spindrift sparkled on Twitter with tons of contests, a big push for their latest flavor release, and a taste of summer all year long. This brand also grew its engagement on Twitter by 34% this year and increased its followers by 26%, suggesting a serious investment in Twitter.
Spindrift was all about the 🍍 this year, with five of their top ten tweets featuring plugs for their newest flavor release. Fans (like me) were excited to welcome a new flavor to the Spindrift family in posts like the one above, which scored a 2.87% engagement rate with nothing more than a box reveal. Spindrift doubled down on their pineapple release with fruit-themed contests and product glamour shots. We looked back at Spindrift’s social in 2019 to see if this brand has always been obsessed with new flavor releases, but their social last year was much more varied, suggesting they really went all in on pineapple.
This Spindrift tweet combined two of their top strategies (contests and summertime) into one off-the-charts tweet. This tweet grabbed a 24.9% engagement rate, making it Spindrift’s most successful tweet of the year and the third most engaging tweet in our whole study. As we saw above in the trends section, people love a good contest–but what made this one stand out? Spindrift featured an epic prize package including three months of their sparkling water, a Bose speaker, a vintage Coleman cooler, and more, which helped motivate followers to follow and reply to the brand. It’s worth noting that Spindrift ran this contest on all three channels this year and their posts and tweets about it grabbed the highest engagement rates across the board, suggesting they really cracked the code for a contest followers could get excited about.
Spindrift’s team spent hours responding to every follower that replied to this playful tweet asking people to share their favorite Spindrift flavor in exchange for a unique note. This tweet grabbed a 2.02% engagement rate thanks to more than 80 replies and some serious dedication on the Spindrift social media team’s part. Responses ranged from thoughtful to silly and beyond, and are a great example of a brand really investing in connecting with their followers one day and one post at a time.
See how your health food brand stacks up.Grab your report here
How is my Health Food Brand Performing on Social Media?
Comparing your health food brand’s social performance has never been easier.
Browse our Live Health Food Social Media Benchmarks for a real-time look at top posts, engagement rates, high-performing hashtags, and tons more. You can even add these benchmarks directly into your Rival IQ account for always-on monitoring of these top brands.
Need even more competitive analytics? Go head-to-head with a free report on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter to see how you stack up against your top competition. See what makes your competitors tick with key insights and actionable advice you can start using now to come out on top.
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We surveyed 100 health food brands on social media between January 1, 2020 and September 30, 2020 on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Using this data and a weighted formula, we generated an overall engagement ranking for each brand. The top-ranked health food brands on social media have high engagement rates with average or better audience size and posting volumes.
We define engagement as measurable interaction on social media posts, including likes, comments, favorites, retweets, shares, and reactions. Engagement rate is defined as the total engagement divided by the number of followers.
Due to Instagram API limitations, we’re able to pull accurate Instagram engagement numbers only for creator and/or Instagram business accounts.
The Case for Benchmarking
Why benchmark instead of just measuring how your health food brand’s individual performance changes over time? Because social success is relative. Benchmarking means figuring out what’s working (and what isn’t) in your industry and measuring your success against that.
It’s crucial to go beyond likes and favorites because audience size is hugely important: 100 likes is great engagement for a health food brand with 1,000 followers but is a drop in the bucket to a brand with 100,000 followers. Engagement rate helps us take audience size into account to see who’s really reaching the highest percentage of their fans and followers with their social posts, which are the health food brands you need to beat.
Wrapping It Up
We hope this report has given you a better understanding of what it takes to be a top health food brand on social media (or at least made you hungry). We loved studying these brands’ colorful and mouthwatering approach to social media, and drew a ton of #inspo from their innovative strategies.
If you want to hear more from this year’s top overall and Instagram health food brand, join us for a free webinar with Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams’ Social Media Specialist, Alex Lewis. Join us on December 3rd or just reserve the recording if you can’t make it live.
Did we miss one of your favorite health food brands? Or maybe just inspired you to snack more? Either way, we want to hear about it on Twitter, so don’t hesitate to drop us a line.