Feature Article - January/February 2010

A Tasteful Impression

Using Gourmet Food for Incentives, Gifts & Rewards

By Emily Tipping

How do you make an impression?

Julie, a respondent to a question asked by The Hiring Site, a section of CareerBuilder.com designed for employers looking to hire top-notch talent, had this to say:

"When we find the right candidate, we immediately send him/her a large box of Godiva chocolates (or special Hershey Kiss package if the candidate has kids) with a warm note telling the candidate how much we enjoyed meeting him/her and why we want him/her to join our team. As a result, we stand out in the crowd. Works every time."

ourmet foods, from the Godiva chocolates Julie's company uses to steaks used as a sales incentives, wine bottles and gift baskets sent as business gifts and much, much more, are effective in programs of all types. And while many consider gourmet foods to be most appropriate during the holiday season, they are really effective at any time of the year.

What makes gourmet food such a valuable gift or incentive?

It makes a statement, and it caters to people's desire to experience their rewards. Studies have shown that most people remember experiences with more fondness than they remember just getting something. That's why so many incentive experts emphasize that it's just as important to plan the experience of the reward or gift as it is to decide which piece of merchandise to give.

Gourmet food also works as a great incentive because no matter how many times someone has enjoyed a tasty treat, they will always be ready for more. "Food gifts make a great incentive, as they can be used over and over without the worry that it is an item that everyone already owns," explained Bob Henthorne, national sales director for Omaha Steaks.

The more things change, the more some things stay the same. A year ago, looking at this same area of the market, we heard from Henthorne, and his statement then still stands today. "Food is universal in popularity and represents a great practical value," he explained. "In addition, a gift of gourmet food offers an occasion, a reason to join together with family and friends to enjoy a delicious meal. This 'shared experience' makes the reward of a food gift even more meaningful and memorable."

Another great benefit of gourmet foods is the incredibly wide range of choices. And in incentive and reward programs, options are a key feature to ensure participants get engaged and involved. With gourmet foods in your lineup, there will always be something that's sure to please—from chocolates and desserts to gift baskets of fruits, and from steaks and seafood to wines, cigars, coffees and much more.