It can be challenging to make brands seem relevant, especially in a market as crowded as the hospitality industry. Thankfully, there are national food holidays to the rescue. Technically, anyone with enough social power and imagination can create a food holiday, but when you follow the trail, you will discover nearly all of them actually start with a PR or marketing firm, and are propelled into existence by lobby groups and associations. It’s no coincidence that The National Peanut Board is behind such holidays as Peanut Butter Day and Peanut Butter Cookie Day.
Before you scoff at the idea of food holidays, note that some have a richer history. National Beer Day (April 7) commemorates the end of Prohibition. National Doughnut Day (June 1) celebrates the hardworking women who served the toroidal delights to soldiers during World War I. These holidays have held up over the years, because novelty and enthusiasm are the perfect ingredients for a great food holiday.
Bizarre food holidays give marketers the ability to create unique promotions all their own, make customers smile and encourage them to share the weirdness with friends. Thus far, we have sent pitches asking media outlets to celebrate National Sangria Day, International Dance Day and National Baklava day. We have promoted for clients National Meat on a Stick Day, National Chicken Noodle Soup Day, and National Cuban Sandwich Day. As far as we’re concerned the weirder, the better when you’re looking to stir up some buzz around your business.
We have pulled together our favorite bizarre food holiday marketing ideas for 2018.
National Chocolate Mint Day – February 19, 2018
Is there a more delicious, more refreshing power couple than chocolate and mint? Probably not. Sorry, Bonnie and Clyde. You may not have Baskin-Robbins as your client, but you can still take full advantage of themed promotions for the aromatic delight. Consider adding a chocolaty cocktail, minty coffee or specialty dessert to your specials menu to drive Thin Mint fiends into your business.
Melba Toast Day – March 23, 2018
Melba Toast was named after famed opera singer, Dame Nellie Melba. She was a diva with a fastidious pallet and an adoring fan who happened to be a chef. He knew of her love for toast and her aversion for thickly cut bread, so he created the thin and toasted wonder and aptly named it after her.
Melba may not scream marketing opportunity, but with its charm and quirk, it can be spun into a unique promotion. If your business is arts-adjacent, host an opera hour with Melba’s greatest hits or create a savory amuse-bouche at your local restaurant.
Lima Bean Respect Day – April 20, 2018
Look, before you brush off this holiday, we’re here to encourage marketers to embrace the opportunity to celebrate this under-appreciated vegetable. As strange as it may seem, it can pay to be a lima bean advocate, and make the unpopular kidney-shaped wonder a trending topic with #LimaBeanRespectDay. Brands can share creative recipes to help motivate people to actually eat their vegetables.
Eat What You Want Day – May 11, 2018
Who doesn’t love permission to do what you want? This holy day, originally created by Thomas and Ruth Roy of Wellcat, helps people take a break from rigid dietary restrictions and enjoy life. With wellness intention on the rise and acai bowls on every corner, sometimes your customers just need permission to cut loose and indulge. If you’re an organic, vegan eatery, we recommend sitting this one out.
Kitchen Klutzes of America Day – June 13, 2018
This is a sterling example of how to celebrate the kitchen-impaired people of the world and invite them into your establishment. It’s a fine line between celebrating shortcomings and insulting your audience, so be sure to make the marketing light and fun. Offer customers a break from the stresses of a kitchen, welcome them in and let them know you are happy to serve them.
National Cotton Candy Day – July 31, 2018
This day can be celebrated in the traditional capacity – color-enhanced, whipped sugar on a stick – but marketers can really think outside of the norm with this one. Cotton candy-flavor, from cocktails to toothpaste, can be commemorated today. When brands jump in on holidays reserved for other industries and put their own spin on it, consumers will take notice and share your social content.
National Zucchini Day – August 8, 2018
There is a lot of power behind this cylindrical green vegetable. With the ability to be enjoyed for both dinner and dessert, marketing can be versatile. Bakeries, restaurants and farmer’s markets can encourage customers to celebrate this day, originally created due to an abundant zucchini harvest, by creating promotions or sharing great recipes. Ratatouille, anyone?
National Welsh Rarebit Day – September 3, 2018
It has an exotic flare to it, but to simplify things, it’s just hot cheese poured over toast. We’re sold! It’s traditionally served as a pub snack across Europe, but we are 100% sure American consumers will get on board with this. Restaurants can take full advantage enlightening customers about this unique holiday, and piquing their interest in this Euro-nacho.
Moldy Cheese Day – October 9, 2018
Cheese needs controlled rot in order to become something flavorful, so why not celebrate it? We know the month of October succumbs to the whole pumpkin takeover, but why not break the mold? Content that goes against the grain will grab the attention of consumers and offer a unique perspective or opportunity. Consider offering a flight of the moldiest cheeses money can buy.
National Cashew Day – November 22, 2018
Cashews can be used in a variety of recipes, but why not think up something more imaginative in terms of marketing this bizarre holiday? Cashews just so happen to be the same shape as a smile, which can be used to your advantage. Create a unique, nutty smiley face and give a shout-out to your loyal customers to show your appreciation.
National Pfeffernuesse Day – December 23, 2018
Aside from being a fun exercise in proper German pronunciation, Pfeffernuesse is a spiced holiday cookie. As the days draw closer to Christmas, last-ditch marketing tactics can overwhelm consumers, but their craving for sugar is certainly on the rise. When your brand’s social content is filled with aggressive sales pitches, customers can get turned off. Instead, share different elements like fun facts, positive images, quotes and other content without a call to action.