Editor's Picks: Tasty Promos


The food-gifting market is on an upswing, says the market research firm Packaged Facts. According to the firm’s report, Food Gifting in the U.S.: Consumer and Corporate, 6th Edition, U.S. consumer and corporate food-gifting sales approached $20 billion in 2018, up four percent from 2017. The growth in this category offers distributors and suppliers a fresh opportunity to expand sales and reach new customers.

A major growth driver for this market, according to the report, is the fact that more people are finding reasons to give the gift of food to themselves or to someone else. “The outlook for this product category is strong,” says Tom Riordan, president of Mosinee, Wisconsin-based supplier Maple Ridge Farms, adding that Americans consume more than 2.8 billion pounds of chocolate each year.

“The sheer size of the opportunity was an invitation for Gemline to expand into the gourmet food business,” says Jonathan Isaacson, president of Lawrence, Massachusetts-based supplier Gemline.

Last year, the supplier launched a new gourmet food-gifting division, Gourmet Expressions by Gemline. “It offers customers one-stop shopping convenience with everything they need for year-round gifting,” Isaacson says. “Gourmet food gifts make wonderful presents.” Indeed, one of the conclusions of the Packaged Facts report was that infusing products with “gourmet” and “artisan” qualities heightens brand power and protects against commoditization.

Year-round gifting appears to be on the rise as well, with corporate giving programs expanding their strategies to target not only the winter holidays but also work anniversaries and expressions of appreciation.

“The key to a successful corporate gift-giving program is that when you give a gift, you’re giving an experience,” Riordan adds. “Giving recipients the best possible experience will boost the brand’s ROI and ensure that the gift and brand will be remembered long after the treats have been enjoyed.” 

Choosing The Right Food Gifts

As the market for food gifts expands, so do the opportunities to reach this audience through promotional products. So, how can distributors best help clients select the right food gifts and the best packaging?

“Ask how your client is planning on using the food gifts and the message that they are trying to communicate,” says Nicholas Santa, marketing coordinator for Freeport, New York-based supplier Chocolate Inn/Taylor & Grant/Lanco. “Also ask if the food gift is for one person or to be shared by multiple recipients.”

If gifts will be given to individuals, smaller packages are appropriate, Santa says. But when sending gifts to be shared in an office, make sure there is enough for everyone.

Another important part of gift giving is packaging. “While chocolate packed in a corrugated carton may taste great, the same chocolate packed in an elegant gift box will make a much better presentation and will be more appreciated and better received by the recipient,” Riordan says.

The price point is also an important consideration. “For year-round gifts, clients tend to select items with a retail value of less than $25,” Riordan says. “However, when it comes to holiday gifting, clients are more likely to choose gifts in the $25 to $250 price range.”

Isaacson also advises distributors to ask the who, what and why of a gift order. “Ask who the gift is for, whether it be for an individual or a group, and what the gift is for to assist in providing options to suit the occasion, such as a company event, welcome room drop or loyalty program,” he says. “Lastly, asking why will help the distributor zero in on the purchaser’s intent for the gift, which will enable him or her to identify creative solutions that satisfy a specific need.”

Focus On Food Safety

Industry suppliers also say that food safety should be a priority when ordering food products from suppliers. “Before ordering promotional food items and gifts, remember that food safety is an important consideration,” Riordan says. “Choosing a company that follows FDA [Food and Drug Administration] guidelines is an absolute must to ensure the quality of the gifts you are sending.”

Industry suppliers of food gifts are taking steps to ensure that high standards for food safety and quality control are maintained. “Gemline has always been known as a leader in product safety and quality—and we’re bringing that into the food business,” Isaacson says. “We are currently undergoing HACCP certification for food safety.”

HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points) is a certification program created to identify and limit food safety risks by requiring adherence to internationally recognized standards.

“Food safety and compliance are huge issues,” Santa says. “That is why we are one of the only food manufacturers in the industry that has utilized significant resources to get SQF certified. Safe Quality Food is recognized as the global standard for safety and quality in the food industry.”

Similar in some ways to HACCP, the SQF certification is a food safety management system which is also accepted as an international standard of excellence. “By doing business with Chocolate Inn, distributors can tell their clients the products they sell are manufactured with the highest food safety and quality control standards,” Santa says.

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Five Facts About Food Gifts

1. Boxed chocolates and candies are still the most popular food gift.

2. Other widely purchased food gifts include coffee, tea and hot chocolate; sweet baked foods; nuts and salty snack foods; and popcorn tins and gifts.

3. Food gift purchasers cite convenience as an important motivating factor for buying these types of items.

4. Purchasers consider food gifts as ideal for people who “don’t really need anything” but who would enjoy a high‑quality present.

5. As a result of major holidays’ market maturity, food gift marketers have pushed further into everyday gifting, providing continued market growth.

Source: Packaged Facts’ report, Food Gifting in the U.S.: Consumer and Corporate, 6th Edition.

Filled with an assortment of tasty treats to pair with a favorite wine, the Everything but the
Wine Gourmet Tote
is a useful gift that offers years of future use. Packaged inside the
keepsake wine cooler are cocoa dusted truffles, berry nut mix, honey mustard sourdough
nuggets and cheddar cheese straws. It's a great business-to-business gift for companies
in the business of wine, travel and tourism--or as a business-to-consumer premium for
wedding planners and photographers.

Gemline   /   PPAI 113948   /   www.gemline.com

This edible gift gets your message across while staying on budget. Perfect for a table favor 
or a thank-you gift, the Stylish Acetate Cube is a clear box that comes packed with the 
tastiest gourmet treats. Chose from Chocolate Covered Almonds (pictured), Jelly Belly® 
Jelly Beans, assorted Licorice pieces, Peppermint Bark or Gummy Bears. Your client's logo
will "clearly" shine on the front of the cube tied with a black raffia ribbon and bow.

Maple Ridge Farms   /   PPAI 114165   / www.mapleridge.com

For the recipients who crave a luxurious chocolate experience (and who doesn't?), the
4 Piece Luxury Chocolate Gift Box is filled with an assortment of handmade, gourmet
chocolates. Packaged in a dazzling red sparkle or brown box with a gold stretch bow, this
set includes one of each of the following: chocolate caramel drop with sea salt, chocolate
tuxedo caramel drop, white chocolate caramel drop with peppermint, and milk chocolate
peanut drop. This tasty gift can be customized with a full-color label featuring the brand's
logo and artwork for maximum corporate exposure.

Fresh Beginnings, Inc.   /   PPAI 111989   /   www.cookiesmakeyousmile.com

This gift does double duty. Once the goodies are gone in the Embroidered Canvas Boat
Tote Gift Set
, it continues to advertise the brand when taken along on picnics, trips to the 
beach or park, and more. Wherever it goes, your client's brand will be sure to stand out. 
Fill the tote with your choice of cheddar, caramel or butter-flavored popcorn.

Chocolate Inn/Taylor & Grant/Lanco   /   PPAI 111662   /   www.chocolateinn.com

Filled with the popular fish-shaped gummy candy, the Swedish Fish® in Large Round 
Window Tin
 features an ample imprint area on the lid for a company logo or tagline. Once
the recipient has enjoyed all the fat-free candy, they'll keep the imprinted tin to fill with paper
clips, push pins or staples. This tin makes the perfect premium for salespeople, real estate
agents or any type of sales professional who "fishes" for leads and new business.

The Magnet Group   /   PPAI 338534   /   www.themagnetgroup.com

Whatever the reason to celebrate, this elegant gift set makes the perfect milestone memento.
A Toast to You Tower includes a delicious, stacked assortment of dark chocolate champagne
truffles, champagne Jelly Belly® jelly beans and dark chocolate nonpareils. Cheers!

Midnite Snax   /   PPAI 113793   /   www.midnitesnax.com

Perfect for commemorating employee milestones or other special occasions, the Collector
Tin Chocolate Covered Sandwich Cookie
offers a large tin filled with individually wrapped
cookies. Ideal for sharing, this tin comes in different decorative designs or can be customized
using the client's graphics and artwork.

Chocolate Inn /Taylor & Grant/Lanco   /   PPAI 111662   /   www.chocolateinn.com

Exquisitely packaged in a beautiful gift box with bow, these lightly salted Extra Fancy Jumbo
Cashews 
make it great at first--and lasting--impression. Choose from a silver, copper or robin's
egg blue (pictured) gift box that is foil-stamped with the client's logo. It's a gift that offers an 
elegant addition to any promotional campaign.

Maple Ridge Farms   /   PPAI 114165   /   www.mapleridge.com

Filled with a variety of salty snack foods that stand out as deliciously different, this 13-inch tall,
octagon-shaped, faux-wood tower brings a natural sophistication to any rewards program or
campaign. The Simply Delicious Gourmet Treats Tower includes salted pecan pita brittle,
almonds, pistachios, berry nut mix, cheddar cheese straws, Snapea crisps, hummus dip,
apple-cinnamon chips, raspberry honey mustard dip with pretzel twists and white chocolate
raspberry cookies.

Gemline   /   PPAI 113948   /   www.gemline.com

A perfect way to stay "thank you," the Dipped Celebration Sprinkle Cookies Tin comes
packed with freshly baked cookies and can be customized with a full-color, direct imprint
of the brand's logo or artwork. Each sugar cookie is dipped in creamy milk or white chocolate,
then topped with festive and colorful sprinkles. This sweet sensation will make a lasting
impression on the recipient.

Fresh Beginnings, Inc.   /   PPAI 111989   /   www.cookiesmakeyousmile.com

Brittany Glenn is a Dallas, Texas-based writer and a former associate editor of PPB.

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