Forced to keep our distance by the pandemic, many people have realized in the past few years just how much they crave the company of the people they care about. From formal dinner parties to barbecues to family movie nights, it’s good to get together.

It doesn’t take Martha Stewart-level entertaining skills to make an occasion meaningful and memorable. All you need is a little planning and some good eats. Perfect for sharing or entertaining, promo gourmet gifts ranging from cheese to wine to carving boards can help recipients make lasting memories with your brand in mind.

Why We Like Food Gifts

A 2019 survey of 2,000 Americans found that nearly 3 of 4 would rather receive food or beverage gifts than other things, especially if they are special treats or indulgences they wouldn’t buy for themselves. Plus, food and drink can be easily shared with family, friends or colleagues, helping to build relationships and create memories.

It all comes back to sharing, says Molly Neises, MAS, national sales executive for Wisconsin-based supplier Maple Ridge Farms.

“Food gifts provide a bridge between people to allow them to recreate the connections they’ve missed,” she says. “After two years of COVID, people are happy to be together again – and a big part of togetherness is sharing stories, experiences and, of course, exceptional food.”

“We want to provide gourmet food experiences that every recipient will remember fondly and take that into account every time we add something to our line,” says Neises.

  gourmet food gift set with sausage cheese, nuts, crackers and more

Get a little bit of everything from sweet to savory with the Flavorful Feast, packaged with a sustainable bamboo board fire-branded with your client’s logo. This party kit, which includes shelf-stable gourmet cheese and sausage, as well as several different kinds of nuts and spreads – and much more – can serve 14-20 people.
Maple Ridge Farms / PPAI 114165, S8

Tell A Story, Make A Memory

Nick Lateur, a director of sales with Massachusetts-based distributor HPG, says people are more interested than ever in where their food came from and who made it.

“When they want a snack, they want to know who made it, where it came from, what type of business it is, what the culture of the business is that is creating these products,” he says.

HPG’s Batch & Bodega brand sources a lot of its wares from local, small-batch, women- and minority-owned makers, and that information is included with each item to enhance the emotional connection and relationship with the end user. That artisanal touch also enhances the gifts’ perceived value in the eyes of recipients.

“A story is really the key,” says Lateur.

  cocktail mixers gift set with tonic syrup, bitters and grenadine

The Jack Rudy Mixologist kit includes three classic cocktail elements – tonic syrup, grenadine and aromatic bitters – plus a personalized two-sided stainless jigger, packaged in a white gift box with a personalized gift card. Whether shaken or stirred, recipients will be impressed.
HPG / PPAI 110772, S11

We Go Together Like Wine & Cheese

Kirby Hasseman, CEO of Ohio-based distributor Hasseman Marketing & Communications, definitely sees that people are hungry to get together again, and he sees them reaching back for entertaining basics like wine and cheese.

“I love the idea of doing a wine kit where you send it out to your customers,” he says, “or, if you’ve got a bigger employee base, you do a quarterly party where everybody brings their own bottle of wine inside a cooler with a wine opener and everybody brings their favorite style of wine and you do a blind wine tasting test and it becomes a little bit more of an experience.”

  custom etched sparkling wine bottle

An elegantly etched 750ml bottle of California Champagne Sparkling Wine is a great way to thank customers, clients or employees. Custom hand-etched corporate logos and personalized text (with optional color fill) offer a striking presentation for your client’s next special occasion or celebration.
A+ Wine Designs / PPAI 173549, S4

“For me, it’s more about the accessories around the wine or the beer, because everybody has their favorite thing,” says Hasseman, “so if you can build something, whether it’s a cooler for the beer, or those double [coolers] where you can get two wine bottles in it, and then there’s an opener as a part of it.”

  two-bottle wine cooler bag with carry strap

The Paso Robles Wine Bottle Cooler Bag fits two bottles in its padded, insulated top zip main compartment with attached lid. The open front pocket offers a bit of extra storage, and the adjustable shoulder strap and top grab handle offer easy carrying options. Available in black or gray (shown).
SnugZ USA / PPAI 112982, S11  

You’ve probably seen something about the viral butter board trend, which people seem to love or hate, as people continue to emerge from their COVID cocoons and look for new and fresh ways to entertain guests. Of course, charcuterie is still a popular approach.

“Cheese has always been a thing, and there are so many cutting knives that you can go with,” says Hasseman, “and you can put a bunch of different things together. … We actually have a really big cheese maker in our county, and they are a customer of ours, so sometimes we’ll partner with Totally Bamboo or one of the knife places or something like that and then pair it with a local cheese and it’s a win, win, win.”

  bamboo cutting board shaped like California and etched with map of local attractions

For a local or regional promo, the Destination Series from Totally Bamboo, like this Destination California Cutting & Serving Board, highlights the unique flavor and experiences of every state. These versatile boards work well as a serving board, a cutting surface or hanging as wall decor with the included hang tie.
Totally Bamboo / PPAI 408801, S1

Adding your clients’ brands (or your own!) into the mix is a win for everyone. Here are a few other edible gifts and must-haves for hosting:

  tower of treats gift set with six boxes of snacks including pretzels, popcorn, cookies and more

The Executive Tower of Treats features six silver foil boxes filled with 11 different delights, including a selection of gourmet popcorns, chocolate dipped pretzels and mixed nuts. Nine ribbon colors (black shown) stamped with your client’s logo or message. “Towers are always cool,” says Hasseman. “I like the stuff that’s really big and crazy and fun.”
Midnite Snax / PPAI 113793, S3

  sugar cookie baking mix gift set with dry cookie mix and bamboo utensils

Make it easy for recipients to enjoy the mouth-watering aroma of fresh-baked cookies with the Bamboo Kitchen Gift Set with Sugar Cookie Mix. Packaged in a fun “Bake It Till You Make It” box with custom labels inside and outside, the kit features a 13.5-oz. bag of sugar cookie mix (makes about 20 cookies), and an eco-friendly bamboo utensil holder, spatula and spoon.
NC Custom / PPAI 111662, S7

  slate cheese board with fork, knife and spreader

This four-piece Maitre d’ Slate Cheese Set is anchored by a 14×11-inch slate serving platter with rustic, rough-hewn edges. Slate is a naturally cool, stain-resistant and food-safe material. Three stainless steel cheese utensils with contoured wood handles included: hard cheese shaver, cheese fork and knife with spreader.
St Regis Group / PPAI 230188, S6  

  round bamboo serving tray with decorative resin inlay

This 15.75-inch Round Bamboo Serving Tray makes a perfect carrier for breakfast in bed, a charcuterie spread, cookies or just about any treat. The decorative plant-based resin is made with recycled bioproducts and hand-poured. Available in nine colors (emerald jewel shown) and packaged in a black gift box.
Lynn & Liana Designs / PPAI 811786, S0

  collapsible party cooler for ice cold beverages

Keep beverages cool and available for party guests with this collapsible Party Tub, which holds up to 24 cans plus ice. It’s made of tarpaulin material and has a bottom drain plug. A heavy-duty collapsible frame and carry bag are included.
AAA Innovations / PPAI 110972, S4