Top Food & Drink Contextual Advertising Segments – Ad Avails for Media Buyers

Blog 7 min read | May 12, 2021 | JW Player


According to our data, there are over 5 billion avails across the JW universe. Whether it’s recipes for healthy dinners, meal prep tips, or video recipes for everything from the Tik Tok pasta to grilling, there’s no question food and drink content is among the top performing in online video. As one of the leading contextual ad segments, the opportunity to reach consumers is rapidly growing.

Across the JW Player universe of 12,000+ unique publishing sites (representing 10B monthly plays), there was a 30% increase in food and drink video plays, whether autoplay or click-to-play videos—the highest volume increase across the JW Player universe. There was also a 29% increase in time watched for food/drink content, representing an increase in total weekly hours of video playback. These large increases led to a dramatic 41% increase in ad impressions of food and drink published content.

During 2020 when the pandemic kept most of the world homebound, consumers tuned in to content more narrowly focused on subjects such as the home and self. Ad impressions surged for lifestyle subjects such as hobbies & interests, food & drink, style & fashion, pets, and home & garden.

Median Publisher Performance by Primary Content Category (2020 trends)

Using JW Player’s ad technology along with the world’s leading contextual ad buyers, we’ve compiled the top U.S. ad requests for particular food and drink contextual categories. These represent a potential to reach beyond traditional Food and Drink specific IAB-labeled sites. We’re able to apply segmentation that identifies the content of videos served across the JW Player universe based on: classification, transcription and semantics data, and image recognition data.

Here’s what we found currently trending among potential food & drink ad avails. Each segment represents an opportunity to buy targeted contextual video ads across a growing number of published videos.

Contextual Targeting with Food Videos

JW Player - Contextual Targeting with Food Videos (trend report 2021)

Related: Contextual Ad Segments for Spring 2021

Contextual Video Ad Targeting - Top 10 Food & Drink Ad Avails

Top 10 Food & Drink Contextual Ad Segments


1. Dessert (including Chocolate, Cookies, & Pie)

A combination of keywords for specific dessert topics leads the list of 2021 food & drink ad avails. Google Trends reports show an increase in search traffic for dessert related subjects, especially in the past year. According to a 2019 Global Indulgence Study of 2,000 consumers, 54% of Americans report that they like to eat dessert when feeling unhappy. And with unhappiness on the rise (source), it’s no surprise that desserts are trending at the top.

These ad avail numbers don’t include fruit (an increasingly common dessert choice) or other healthy desserts. Gluten free, dairy free, and keto desserts are all increasing in popular according to Google Trends, but with ad avails showing the prevalence of contextual keywords for chocolate, cake, and cookies—it’s sweet, high-calorie desserts that are still the priority interest among consumers.

Projected US Monthly Ad Avails/Requests: 554 million
Contact JW Player to target your dessert video ads


2. Poultry & Chicken 

Americans consume approximately 8 billion chickens per year, and chicken dishes are frequently the most popular recipes of choice. Poultry ad avails come in with more volume than chicken, but combined, they are the most popular savory food of choice for Americans. Gobble gobble.

Projected US Monthly Ad Requests: 403 million
Contact JW Player to target your poultry & chicken video ads


3. Healthy Foods

Healthline, a top health & lifestyle website, reports that “due to the significant impact of COVID-19 on many people’s physical and mental well-being, there’s growing interest in eating foods that serve health-related purposes.” With over 315 million ad avails covering the subject, healthy foods ranks as a top contextual term. It comes with more available results than dessert only terms.

“Medical health” and “healthy living” publishing sites both saw decreases in ad impressions even with relative increases in video plays, but with contextual ads, the volume for healthy foods is actually substantial. That’s likely due to the extreme dominance of COVID-19 news taking over health-focused websites, but with contextual ad buying from JW Player, it’s possible to still target consumers interested in health-subjects but not exclusively on health-focused websites. Contextual ad targeting targets video-specific content at the video level rather than the website level.

Projected US Monthly Ad Requests: 319 million
Contact JW Player to target your healthy food video ads


4. Dairy Foods

Dairy foods and beverages can range from butter and cheese to yoghurt, milk, and ice cream. Each year, from May through August, dairy related keywords peak according to Google Trends. With the summer heat driving up ice cream production (about 1.4 billion gallons of ice cream are produced in America per year), dairy related keywords make a strong showing in the spring and summer months. For contextual advertisers, that presents plenty of opportunity to show up on related subject matters.

Projected US Monthly Ad Requests: 242 million
Contact JW Player to target your dairy food video ads


5. Asian Foods 

Asian food is one of the fastest growing food trends in the USA. The Washington Post reports that Asian food has grown by nearly 500 percent in 15 years and it continues to steadily grow according to Google Trends. As Asian culture, specifically foods, becomes more prevalent in America, the opportunities for media buyers is also growing. Whether it’s specific Asian food recipes on food blogs, or awareness campaigns and references to Asian holidays, there are a growing number of videos to advertise alongside.

Projected US Monthly Ad Requests: 208 million
Contact JW Player to target your Asian food video ads


6. Meat 

Meat focused video content is always going to be popular, even as non-meat content is growing in popularity among advertisers. Whether it’s beef (91 million ad avails) or pork (86 million ad avails), there are plenty of opportunities to promote alongside meat-focused videos—in both news and lifestyle publications.

Projected US Monthly Ad Requests: 196 million
Contact JW Player to target your meat-focused video ads


7. Fruit

With almost 200 million ad avails, fruit is a popular subject in a wide variety of publications. Home/Gardening, news, food/recipes, travel, healthy living, and even style/fashion websites regularly incorporate fruit-related subjects in their video content. With contextual advertising, it’s possible to reach these consumers in creative ways.

Projected US Monthly Ad Requests: 195 million
Contact JW Player to target your fruit video ads


8. Breakfast 

In a trend report from, breakfast is up +13% in year-over-year popularity among American consumers. Advertisers and media buyers have the opportunity to reach over 150 million consumers through targeted advertising in video content. Whether it’s specific breakfast recipes (casseroles, egg & cheese, etc), or bed and breakfast traveling, or even business articles about the rise in popularity of breakfast at fast food chains like McDonald’s, there are countless subjects besides food-only videos to reach consumers interested in breakfast content.

Projected US Monthly Ad Requests: 154 million
Contact JW Player to target your breakfast food video ads


9. Vegan/Vegetarian

According to GlobalData’s research, there was a 600% increase in veganism from 2014–2017 and with the introduction of new plant-based meats in the consumer market (and their rapid increase in sales & production), non-meat subject matter is at an all-time high. As vegan and vegetarian content becomes more ubiquitous across business & finance sites, food & lifestyle sites, and others, there is a huge demand for vegan/vegetarian-focused advertising. With JW Player Advertising, it’s possible to reach millions of consumers.

Projected US Monthly Ad Requests: 138 million
Contact JW Player to target your vegan & vegetarian food video ads


10. Italian Food

Italian food has always been popular among Americans, but during the 2020 pandemic, pizza restaurants in particular were a big winner. Even the big pizza chains saw huge increases in sales between 20-40% throughout the year, and that trend is expected to continue. Other Italian foods remain among top recipe searches, but as the subject crosses multiple types of content, there are huge opportunities for media buyers to reach consumers interested in Italian food videos.

Projected US Monthly Ad Requests: 114 million
Contact JW Player to target your Italian food video ads


JW Player Advertising — Contact us

JW Player works across 12,000 unique publishing sites and has over 10B monthly plays. Every one of these videos is analyzed and classified on dozens of data points only available to JW Player. The result is a level of ad targeting for video that’s not available with previous page-level based solutions—and at a scale that no-one else can match.

Learn more about contextual video ad targeting here. Contact us at to get started today.