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How to Start a Food Channel on YouTube

Starting a food channel on YouTube comes with more benefits than just making thousand a month

Having grown my YouTube channel to almost 200,000 subscribers in less than three years, I get a lot of questions about how to start a channel and the different topics.

When someone asks me what type of channel to start, my first answer is always a question…”What do you enjoy talking about?”

If you can start with that passion, you’ll be able to keep creating videos even before the other benefits like the money start coming in.

My second answer to the question though, “START A FOOD CHANNEL!”

Food and cooking channels work on so many different levels. Whether you enjoy cooking, just want to learn a little yourself or want to grow a monstrous channel that make money…you’ll be able to do all three on YouTube.

Why Start a Food Channel on YouTube

There are a few reasons I like food channels so much for beginning YouTubers and at least one of the three main reasons usually hits a key motivation.

First, cooking channels are soooo easy to grow. People just love watching cooking and food. As popular as food blogs have been with their mouth-watering pictures, you just can’t beat video. Watching someone make a three-layer chocolate and strawberry cake engages so many of the senses; sight, sound and even taste.

Anyone can start a food channel. It’s not just the world famous chefs. In fact, some of the most successful cooking channels I’ve seen were created by people that had no prior experience. They wanted to learn how to cook and take others on that journey.

Viewers love the idea of starting on that journey with someone that isn’t already a master chef that’s going to laugh at their mistakes. Someone learning just like them.

Food channels are also EXTREMELY monetizable. The pay on advertising isn’t as high as some other channel topics like personal finance but the potential in sponsors and products is huge. Why do you think world-class chefs like Gordan Ramsay and Emeril Lagasse have channels even with their TV fame?

One last benefit to starting a food channel on YouTube, and this is a big surprise for most, the ability to save on your family’s food costs! The average household spends $6,000 a year at the grocery store and another few thousand eating out. When you start a cooking channel though, some of that money becomes a business expense and you can take it off your income.

  • You’ll need to buy food to cook in your videos…and of course you’re not just going to let that food go to waste.
  • That new stove or other appliances you need, that becomes ‘business equipment’ and you take the cost off your business income on taxes
  • Going out to eat at a restaurant becomes ‘research’ as you talk to chefs and taste different dishes

Now you’re not going to be able to deduct all your food expenses for your cooking channel but even writing off a fifth or so can mean saving $1,000+ on your taxes.

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Types of Food Channels on YouTube

The best YouTube channels are those that pick a very specific topic and master it for their audience. This is probably the most important step in creating a channel and one of the biggest chapters in my YouTube book.

The ability to become THE authority in a niche topic or for a group of people will help you stand out among all the other YouTubers.

Some Potential Food Channel Ideas Include:

  • Videos on how to cook at different levels of expertise. The most popular tend to be beginner cooking channels, because most people don’t have a clue on how to cook.
  • Channels niched to a specific type of food. There are a few different ways to take this idea. You can focus on food of a specific nationality like Chinese food or Italian. You could focus on a specific course like great appetizers, main dishes or desserts.
  • Quick Recipes. These are another very popular type of food channel because…well who has the time to cook a big meal? Show someone how to feed their family well in less than 10 minutes and you’ll get millions of subscribers!

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Examples of Successful Food Channels

One of the best things about YouTube is that anyone can start a channel and become a star. You don’t need to be TV famous. In fact, many of the biggest food YouTubers are NOT the most famous TV personalities. Sure Gordan Ramsay has 14 million subscribers by Emeril Lagasse has just 82K subs versus channels started by everyday people with millions of subs.

One of my favorite examples of great YouTube food channels is 5-Minute Recipes. The videos are quick 10-minutes or less and you don’t even need to be on camera. The channel has built up 5.5 million subs on short montage-type videos. The videos are highly shareable on other social media like Facebook and Instagram, creating an instant social influencer business.

How to Grow a YouTube Food Channel
How to Grow a YouTube Food Channel

Cooking channel Tasty is a great example of creating an entire business around YouTube and other resources. The world’s largest food network is only five years old! Started by Buzzfeed in 2015, Tasty instantly became some of the most shared content on Facebook and then on YouTube when the channel was started in 2016. With over 18 million subscribers, this is definitely a channel to look at for inspiration and ideas in starting your own food videos.

YouTube Food Channels
YouTube Food Channels

How to Start a YouTube Food Channel

Starting a YouTube channel is deceptively simple. Shoot a video and upload it to your YouTube account…and that’s it, right?

Starting a successful channel is a little more complicated but anyone can do it. You first need to pick your topic or niche. This is what you’ll be talking about, cooking or who you want to reach with your videos.

Narrowing this topic is important because there are more than 26 million channels on YouTube and at least a few million food channels. Picking a smaller topic than just ‘cooking’ will help you compete in a smaller group.

Different niches to consider for your channel:

  • Types of food or skill levels – you can even mix these, i.e. a channel for beginners on how to cook easy desserts
  • By audience group – don’t feel like you need to be something to everyone. What about a channel for Gen X people that always wanted to learn to cook but never had the time? How about easy cooking tips for busy Millennials?
  • Other topic twists – what about no-cook recipes or quick microwave means that taste great?

Don’t worry about narrowing your niche too much. Try to be the best channel for a very specific group and you’ll be surprised how many will find you.

Next is to start a food blog. Yeah, I know this is an article about starting a YouTube channel but blogs still play an important role in any online business. With a blog, you’ll own your own piece of digital real estate without having to worry about when YouTube will change the rules. Your blog will give you a way to create offers and courses, as well as control the email list of your community for sales.

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With the topic idea, starting your food channel is easy. You’ll want to set it up with the basics including a banner image and About page. Take your time on this basic channel setup. It’s going to be your brand and how you’re ‘different’ from all the other channels.

When it comes to making your first videos, don’t try to start from scratch. Pick five channels in your topic idea, go to their videos and sort by ‘Most Popular’. Look at the ten most popular videos on each channel and you’re sure to see some overlap. It’s these video ideas that are most popular in the niche that will be a great place to start for your first videos.

Creating your first videos, don’t try to be perfect! Outline what you want to say, rehearse a couple times and then just record straight through without stopping. Get all your ingredients and cookware set up and start cooking. You might consider having two cameras set up, one in front of you so you can talk to it while cooking and another pointed down to your prep area to capture video of what you’re doing.

How Much Do YouTube Food Channels Make?

Advertising rates for cooking channels are on the low end of the scale. I surveyed 98 YouTube channels to find the average per-view rate they make on videos with cooking channels coming in around $0.0025 per view.

That’s pretty low compared to other topics like Personal Finance where you can average $0.014 per view but the absolutely massive views you get on food channels makes up for it. The Tasty channel gets an average around 500,000 views per video…or about $1,250 every time they tap record.

By far though, most of your money on YouTube is going to come from other sources like cookbooks and courses. I’ll highlight these sources next but even smaller cooking channels I talked to reported making between $1,000 and $5,000 a month.

How to Make Money on a Food Channel

Would it be cliché to say that making money on a food channel is only limited by your imagination? Yeah, all the usual suspects are here for making money like self-publishing, courses and sponsors. Like any successful business, it’s how you implement these ideas with your own twist that will make the difference.

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A few of my favorite ideas for making money on a food channel include

  • Cookbooks are a no-brainer and usually the first way you’ll make money. These are super-easy to put together with one page the text recipe and the other a picture of the finished dish. Sell it on your blog or through Amazon and refer to it in your videos.
  • Cooking courses are the next logical step. Why be satisfied making $6 a book when you can make $60 or $600 per student in your video course? Best part, since you’re already making videos, these will be easy to put together.
  • Printable recipes are another quick and easy idea and you can sell them directly through the blog.
  • Don’t overlook sponsorships, both in your videos and for live events. From cookware to food makers, you can get someone to sponsor your video. Talk to cookware stores and restaurants about doing a pop-up cooking class at their place…for a fee.
  • FREEBIES! Even small YouTube channels can get free stuff to demonstrate. Reach out to cookware and appliance companies.

Special 40% Launch Discount! Get every secret I used to grow my YouTube channel from zero to 75,000 subscribers in less than 18 months! I’m launching Crushing YouTube and offering an unbeatable one-time discount to the first to get this step-by-step guide.

This book WILL pay for itself inside of six months on the money you make through YouTube. Click through and reserve your copy of Crushing YouTube before the price increases.

Starting a food channel on YouTube can quickly grow from a side hobby into a full-blown business. Don’t think you need to be some world-class chef already. These are some of the fastest growing channels and they make lots of money.

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