Despite extensive documentation in many taxa of vocalizations specific to feeding contexts, little is known of the variables leading to production of food-associated calls. We thus experimentally investigated food-associated calls in cotton-top tamarins (Saguinus oedipus). In one experiment, we examined the roles of food quantity, quality and distribution and of social condition of individuals on food-associated calling. Paired adults without offspring gave more vocalizations than immature individuals and adults with offspring. We observed no effects of food quantity or distribution on calling rate. Tamarins called more often to peaches, a food of intermediate preference that was also consumed the fastest. Tamarins gave more food-associated calls when in closer proximity to other group members. Low rates of moderate aggression were observed in single, but not multiple, feeder conditions. We saw no consistent evidence of dominance among adults, and all aggression in family groups was directed toward immature animals. In another experiment, we presented a tamarin with food in a separate cage, either in view of or visually isolated from its mate. Tamarins presented with food called at an equal rate whether or not their mates were visible, suggesting no effect of audience on calling. Individuals not presented with food called in response to the food calls of their mates equally often, irrespective of whether or not the mate or the food was visible. Since food calling occurs at extremely low rates in the absence of food, the food calling by tamarins that cannot see the food suggests that the calls of their mates provide representational information about food.