The numbers don’t lie: Shoppers aren’t stingy when it comes to gifting. While a rise in average cost-of-living coupled with stagnant wages has led many Americans to pinch pennies, it hasn’t stopped them from shelling out for gourmet food products as gifts for their loved ones.

The National Retail Federation predicts that consumer spending will spike to record numbers in 2019. Because of this, it’s important for small business owners to stay on top of what sells. Food gift sales skyrocketed to nearly 20 billion dollars in 2018. Since no retailer should willingly miss out on sales this strong, here are some of the reasons you should be adding gourmet and specialty foods to your inventory.

1. All generations love gourmet food products

There’s no getting around it, young or old… people love to eat. A report by Specialty Food Industry found that the share of consumers buying specialty foods in 2018 was high among all four surveyed generations: Gen Z, Millennials, Gen Xers, and Baby Boomers. Specialty food purchasing specifically is a retail trend that’s gaining momentum. Phil Kafarakis, president of the Specialty Food Association, reports, “Consumers of all ages are embracing specialty foods and making purchases everywhere they happen to be – from convenience stores to big box retailers to online, as well as in traditional gourmet shops and groceries.”

2. Specialty food can beef up your display game

There’s not much more enticing to a consumer than the promise of ‘free’ and setting out samples so that shoppers can have experience your products firsthand has been proven to increase sales. Cornell University found a direct link between free samples and customer satisfaction. The same Cornell study also found that the more satisfied the customer, the more they end up spending. So it’s no secret that customer satisfaction pays big dividends for retailers.

3. Edible items keep your inventory fresh

No shop’s inventory should remain stagnant, especially in today’s fast-paced world where consumers expect retailers to stay ahead of the game. In a retail climate that calls for businessowners to continually reinvent their inventory, gourmet and specialty food products a high-margin, high turnover additions to any retailer’s display shelves. After all, what better way to ensure your inventory is being refreshed regularly than to add edible items to your existing display?

The Bottom Line

The old saying remains true: The way to anyone’s heart is through their stomach. Throughout the decades the food gifting industry has remained profitable–– even during years of economic uncertainty. After all, everybody needs to eat, and gourmet food products help to elevate the everyday dining experience. Unlike flash-in-the-pan products that go by the wayside faster than you can say “fidget spinner,” the product life cycle of food items remains constant. Because of this, gift shop retailers of all sizes can stand out from the competition by making gourmet, edible items a part of their retail arsenal.

Want to explore gourmet and specialty food items – many of which can be personalized through name drop merchandise – for your unique business? Join IGES this November! Details here.

By Nicole Leinbach Reyhle

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