Feature Article - January/February 2009

Sharing, Savoring

Gourmet Foods to Inspire & Reward

By Emily Tipping


ere's some food for thought: As the waves of economic recession are felt throughout the world, they're impacting almost every aspect of our lives—surging beyond our financial status and employment situations to affect everything from the way we shop for groceries to whether or not we go out for a luxurious dinner. This is just one reason why gourmet foods have even more impact these days—as a business gift or as an incentive to motivate employee performance, sales promotions, customer loyalty and more. People are sure to savor delicious foods they've had to cut from their personal budgets.

According to a recent Harris Poll from November 2008, the majority of Americans (58 percent) said their household's financial condition had gotten worse in the past year, and they were planning to cut their spending accordingly. In addition to dropping large expenditures, almost two-thirds of Americans said it was likely that they would spend less on eating out in restaurants and reduce their spending on entertainment.

That means you can really make an impact by offering them the luxurious experience of a gourmet meal to share among family and friends.

"Tough economic times make gourmet food even more appealing as it is considered a practical gift, but offers a luxury experience," said Bob Henthorne, national sales director for Omaha Steaks. "Despite the economy, the desire to gather with family and friends remains unchanged, and a gift of gourmet foods provides that opportunity."

Glenn Pasiewicz, vice president of sales and marketing for Entrees to Excellence, said that his company has seen people taking the points they've earned in a program and using them to "purchase" food. "Maybe they said, 'Hey, I don't need another TV or watch, but maybe some food for the family might be the way to go,'" he explained. "It's gotten back to that comfort."

As a result, the company saw a respectable uptick in sales last year, with gift baskets and wine baskets really taking off. "People are sitting at home, and eating and drinking," Pasiewicz said.