The Fine Art of Delicious Gift Giving
By Bernice Hurst, Contributing Editor, RetailWire
It isn’t just men whose
hearts can be reached through their stomachs. Increasing numbers of food gifts
are being purchased, according to a report, Food
Gifting in the U.S., from Packaged Facts.
Specifically, the report points
out that consumer food gifts grew by 9.6 percent, to $14.9 billion, between
2007 and 2009. This compares with an increase of 7.4 percent in total consumer
gift purchases during the same period and a reduction of 3.4 percent in gift
card sales during 2009 alone. Corporate gifts have also increased slightly.
main driver cited is gift-packaged speciality foods other than chocolate and
candy. Packaged Facts’ publisher, Don Montuori, explained that speciality
foods are the "main component of food gifts and baskets" because
they are "unique, personal, indulgent, convenient and fun." He
pointed out that they are also sure to be used and qualify as affordable luxury,
making them ideal gifts during difficult economic times.
The report added, "Continuing
consumer interest in organic, natural and gourmet foods, as well as more sales
of ‘healthy’ gift baskets,
are also fueling specialty food gift purchases." In all categories, high
quality seemed to be the most important criteria.
As for where consumers go,
online food gift retailers accounted "for
about a third of the market last year" compared with nearly 50 percent
held by brick-and-mortar retailers.
Discussion Questions: Should retailers do more to promote food as gifts? Are
they making the most of this opportunity?
[Author’s commentary] Considering the range of products available in-store,
there may be greater opportunities for gift combinations that attract customers
for whatever special occasion they have coming up. There is also room for lateral
thinking. More than a few companies in the U.K. offer food parcels for students,
for example. Online retailers may have the advantage in terms of dressing things
up to look pretty but they certainly don’t have the variety immediately
on hand available at supermarkets.