Food bloggers now have plenty of potential revenue streams to explore. These include promoting sponsored content through brand mentions within blog posts, joining ad networks such as Google AdSense, and selling digital cookbooks or meal plans. Yet one of the most profitable and simple methods has to be affiliate marketing, which involves promoting a brand’s products or services in return for a commission on any resulting sales. Food bloggers love affiliate marketing as a method to monetize their blogs, thanks to the broad range of products available to promote, ranging from kitchen equipment to ingredients.

When you choose to get set up as an affiliate marketer, you agree to place special links for products or services on your blog. These links have tracking codes and cookies so that when someone clicks them and makes a purchase, you receive a small commission (typically somewhere between 5% and 30%).

Jumping into affiliate marketing can be a little overwhelming. You might not know where to start, or you might be worried about damaging your authenticity. If you don’t know where to begin, this article will explore some of the top affiliate programs and how you can benefit from affiliate marketing while maintaining the trust of your audience.

Why affiliate marketing is a game-changer for food bloggers

Affiliate marketing has slowly become a key money-maker for food bloggers. It’s a fantastic form of passive income, giving bloggers the chance to focus on creating wonderful content and engaging with their audience while earning an income.

There are opportunities to make good money with affiliate marketing, though it’s worth noting that it often takes a while to grow this revenue stream. This is especially true when you’re just getting started, as it takes time to build a larger audience. With that said, after just five years, popular food blog Pinch-of-Yum reported $4,753.49 in one month from Amazon Associates alone.

Knowing which products and services to recommend can be one of the trickiest parts. If you want to maintain your authenticity and be effective in your affiliate marketing, you should try to only recommend products you genuinely like, use, and trust. This helps to build trust with your audience and makes them more likely to buy what you recommend. You should avoid recommending products you haven’t tested yourself. If the quality turns out to be poor or unsuitable for your readers, your reputation as a knowledgeable food blogger could take a hit.

Another important thing to remember is that you need to declare your interests. It’s important to clearly state when you’re using affiliate links, both to build audience trust and to comply with FTC guidelines. These guidelines require you to clearly disclose when you use affiliate links or receive compensation for endorsements, reviews, or recommendations. Failure to disclose these relationships may be considered deceptive and result in penalties or legal action.

Affiliate programs vs affiliate networks

You’re sure to come across both affiliate programs and affiliate networks as terms used within affiliate marketing. Although they sound similar, there is actually a significant difference between them, so it’s important to understand how they differ.

Affiliate programs

HECK! affiliate marketing program.

Affiliate programs are direct partnerships between a blogger and a brand. Often brands prefer to manage their own affiliate programs because it gives them more control over which bloggers they accept.  For example, HECK! handle their free affiliate marketing program through UpRemote, where one of their team members approves your application.

To find these programs, visit the brand’s website and look for information about affiliate partnerships. Assess whether the program meets your criteria and offers competitive terms before reaching out to express interest in an affiliate partnership via email or contact form. When doing so, be sure to showcase your blog’s audience and highlight your value proposition. You may also wish to propose collaboration ideas that showcase your creativity and enthusiasm for promoting the brand. Once you are accepted into one of these programs, you’ll receive a commission on each sale made through your unique affiliate link. 

Affiliate networks

ShareASale affiliate marketing network for bloggers and brands.

Affiliate networks are platforms that work as intermediaries, connecting bloggers to brands that are looking for affiliate marketers. This includes networks that are popular with food bloggers such as ShareASale, Skimlinks, and CJ Affiliates. Joining affiliate networks usually means creating an account as a publisher or content creator, which will allow you to browse the available brands that are part of the network. After choosing brands that fit your blog, you can apply to represent them. Make sure you check the requirements for each brand to ensure you meet them and increase your chance of approval.

Both affiliate programs and affiliate networks can be great options for your food blog. Affiliate networks can give you access to more brands, while affiliate programs can help you create a closer relationship with your favorite brands.

Choosing the right affiliate program for your niche

Selecting the wrong affiliate program for your niche and audience could be detrimental to your growth. It’s important to find an affiliate program that aligns with your mission and matches it up to your niche and the interests of your audience.

There are a few different factors you’ll want to look at when you’re trying to decide which program is right for your blog. The commission structure is a good place to start because you want to know how it works and how much you’ll earn for each sale made through your link. Make sure the brand has products that are relevant to your content and audience so you can naturally include them in your content. Finally, the reputation and quality of the brand, as well as the terms of service, must be checked.

Affiliate programs will sometimes have certain requirements, such as a minimum audience or amount of traffic. However, not all of them do, so it’s always worth applying if you think that your blog would be a good fit for their brand.

Be sure to always consider your audience. For example, if you have a global audience, pick brands that have products that are available in multiple countries. There’s no point in linking to products that many of your readers can’t buy.

Discover the top affiliate programs for your food blog

Let’s take a look at some of the top affiliate programs for food bloggers.

HelloFresh affiliate program

HelloFresh affiliate program landing page.

HelloFresh is a well-known meal kit brand. Their partnership program gives you the chance to earn a commission when new customers sign up for their service. Commission starts at $10 for new customers and top affiliates get bonuses too.

HelloFresh places their cookies for 14 days, meaning that if someone signs up within two weeks of clicking your link, you’ll get a commission. Payments are monthly, with no minimum amount before you can cash out on your commissions.

Food52 affiliate program

Food52 affiliate program landing page.

Food52 is a recipe site and cooking community. They sell kitchen equipment, dinnerware, home accessories, cookware, and more. The Food52 affiliate program is hosted on Partnerize, so you have to sign up there. The program offers a 9% commission and places cookies for seven days. In 2023, they also launched the Food52 Curator affiliate program (run through Captiv8), which allows creators and community members to earn a 12% commission on the first $100,000 of sales and a 15% commission on anything over that.

Amazon Associates

Amazon Associates affiliate program landing page.

Amazon Associates is hugely popular across lots of different niches. Since Amazon sells a broad array of products, it’s suitable for many niches, including food blogs. You can create a custom storefront for the products you want to promote. There are different commission rates for different product categories. If you’re promoting Kitchen items, you’ll earn 4.5%. Amazon Fresh groceries earn a commission of 1%, while Home products get 3%. You can also get extra commissions from special events and purchases, such as first-time Amazon Fresh purchases.

“We’re able to find all of the products on Amazon that we want to recommend to our audience. We value being able to help our audience find and purchase what they need.”Fire Food Chef

California Wine Club

California Wine Club affiliate program landing page.

California Wine Club helps artisan wineries share their wines, offering five club levels to their members. They have an excellent commission rate of 15%, with bonuses and VIP commissions available too. For this reason, it’s a popular choice with food bloggers who talk about wine and other alcohol. The program provides banners, text links, and images to make it easy to promote their products and get people to click on your link. The program uses ShareASale for tracking, traffic monitoring, and real-time earnings reports. 

The Spice House affiliate program

The Spice House affiliate program landing page.

Spices are some of the most essential ingredients any cook needs. So the affiliate program from The Spice House makes perfect sense for many food bloggers. Named “one of the world’s best spice shops” by Food & Wine, their huge range of spices means you can easily find an appropriate product or two for any recipe or blog post about different cuisines.

The program promises sign-up bonuses and commission rates above industry standards. It also has exclusive publisher promotions and it includes an affiliate partner newsletter that offers you content ideas.

Maximize your food blog revenue with WP Recipe Maker’s affiliate features

Affiliate marketing can make you good money as a food blogger, but only if it’s easy for your readers to make a purchase. If there are too many steps, they might give up before buying anything.

When you’re linking to products in your blog posts, signposting them as soon as possible can help your audience find what they need. Mentioning the product you want to promote in the introduction to a recipe can be an appropriate way to get your reader’s attention. Talk about why you like it and how it contributes to the recipe to give context to why you’re linking to it.

“Make your affiliate links an integral part of your recipe story. They should feel like a natural extension, offering your audience access to ingredients or tools that elevate the cooking experience. When done right, these links aren’t just about making a sale – they’re about enhancing the journey for your readers, adding value every step of the way.”

Birthe Vandermeeren

WP Recipe Maker is a WordPress plugin designed for food bloggers that makes it simple to include your affiliate links in your recipes and blog posts. It’s an essential tool if you want to quickly and easily integrate your affiliate links into your content. With the equipment affiliate link feature, you can insert and display images and links for your recommended equipment. Your equipment will be displayed at the top of your recipe card so readers will quickly see what you recommend for that particular recipe.

It’s especially good for Amazon Affiliate members because you can search for and link products directly instead of manually adding them. Just search for what you want, find your product, and then click “select product” to feature it as part of your recipe.

WP Recipe Maker equipment affiliate link feature in WordPress.

Take your blog to the next level with WP Recipe Maker

Look for affiliate programs that align with your niche and the goals you have for your food blog. It’s important to match your affiliate brands to your audience and your mission in order for your promotions to feel natural and worthwhile. Remember, to maintain trust with your audience, it’s always best to disclose affiliate relationships transparently, provide honest reviews, and showcase your own personal experiences with the products.

WP Recipe Maker is perfect if you want to make it easier to integrate affiliate links with your blog. As well as simplifying the process of linking to affiliate products, it also has other excellent features to help you promote your blog. You can boost SEO with recipe metadata, making your blog more visible in search engine results so you can reach a wider audience. The larger your audience is, the better your chance is of making money from your affiliate marketing efforts.

Get started with affiliate marketing by browsing the available programs and finding what could work for your blog’s brand. Make it easier to include your affiliate links in your recipe cards when you download WP Recipe Maker.

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