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Edible Gifts

food shopping took place at local greengrocers, butchers, newsagents and bakers. Often, a delivery boy would bring fresh produce to the front door .

A taste for it T

he way that we, as consumers, buy food today has changed greatly over the last hundred years. A couple of generations ago,

west, Harrogate or Abergavenny, have a very strong food culture and food often sums up the visitors’ experience of a region. Tourists are now more likely to visit a working farm and bring home something edible as a gift from the shop.

The emergence of supermarkets on the high street shifted the balance towards single outlets which catered for every food need, gradually eliminating most of the smaller food retailers. More recently, these supermarkets have expanded further and moved in many cases to locations only accessible by car or public transport.

In the last ten years the paradigm has shifted again - the advent of online shopping means that the weekly food shop is once again being delivered to the front door of the customer, albeit in a refrigerated van rather than the basket of a pushbike.

The type of edible products being stocked by gift retailers has also changed greatly, according to Mike Anderson of Hale Events, organiser of food show the SOURCE (incorporating Taste of the West) along with the more gift-centric Giving & Living. He says: “We’re seeing plenty of items now that wouldn’t have been offered or even considered as a gift items ten years ago. There has been a vast improvement in packaging technology that means we’re seeing products like eel and smoked duck being available as gift items. “We’re certainly seeing an increase in the number of companies offering food gifts at Giving and Living and consequently, retailers are offering much more of them to customers. “20 years ago, the edible gifts that we would see at the Torquay Fair would be limited to fudge, biscuits and sweets, but the sorts of souvenirs that holidaymakers are buying now are likely to refl ect a more personal experience of the region.

40 gifts today

“As an example, the farm shop at the Cheddar Gorge sells a take-home cream tea, which contains a scone, jam and a tea bag. It has a short shelf life but nothing sums up the region better. “Most edible gifts, however, tend to have a longer shelf life - much the same as general gift items. We haven’t yet seen a shift into delicatessen items that require more specialised treatment. We’re seeing high quality fudge, biscuits, jams, preserves, chutneys and also things like liqueurs, ciders and brandies that would have been more traditionally sold by specialist food outlets moving into the gift arena.” One of the more prominent edible gift companies operating in the world of gifts is the premium chocolatier Thorntons, which celebrates its centenary next year. Shops which enter into a franchising partnership with the company can offer seasonal ranges of chocolates and ice cream - for many retailers it is the bedrock of their business. Graham Boardman, owner of gift shop At Home in Petersfi eld, Hampshire, explains: “There is no way that we could have been on the high street without Thorntons. It has always sold well for us. “From thinking at the start that we

were only going to sell a few boxes of chocolates, it’s now a major part of our business. We couldn’t really do without

CONTACTS Giving & Living -

The SOURCE /Taste of the West -

Thorntons -

Edible gifts can be more than sticks of rock, discovers Paul Hughes “Many regions, such as the south

it - it pays all the overheads and wages. “The Thorntons signs pull people

off the street - they come in to buy ice creams during the summer. Most of our business is done on a regular turnaround of people that know we do Thorntons. “Equally, people now come back because they know we also have gifts

that can be a bit different.

“Thanks to the chocolates, our main season is the lead-in to Christmas, through Valentine’s day and Mother’s Day and right up to Easter.” From jars of preserves to shops full of chocolate, the edible gift market looks to be expanding - here are a few ideas.

Keylink Ltd

Keylink Ltd is supporting its premium, gift range of Griottines and Framboisines with a new consumer-oriented promotional campaign designed to raise awareness, stimulate trial and drive sales of the ruby red delicacies in the run-up to Christmas.

A new website has been launched along with a new Griottines recipe booklet that comes free with every purchase. A hard-hitting consumer PR campaign will seek to publicise Griottines and their unique appeal. Sanjeev Ramchandani, managing director of Keylink Ltd, comments: “By

raising awareness of Griottines amongst consumers our trade customers will benefi t because more people will be familiar with Griottines and actively seek them out. They are available in either 35cl gift jars or elegant red gift boxes, making them the ideal Christmas gift. Keylink remains the exclusive UK distributor for Griottines retail products and we urge retailers to stock up now to make the most of the excellent profi t opportunity offered by our Griottines.”

Tel: 0114 245 5400


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