Ian Downes from Start Licensing discusses food and drink gifting

Start Licensing's Ian Downes talks about how businesses big and small can benefit from food and drink merchandising, and how licences are best deployed in this area.

An area of licensing that has shown growth in recent years, especially around Christmas, is that of food and drink gifting. This generally features composite gifts, where a product such as a mug or glass is co-packed with a branded food or drink item. There are a number of specialist licensee suppliers for this category, with leading players being Scoop Designs, Beams International and Kimm & Miller. Their skill sets lie in securing the brands to license, creating the products and logistically pulling the elements together. The products they create have hit certain price points and have strong gift appeal.
Retailers such as Debenhams, Boots and John Lewis give dedicated space to food gifting as well as promoting products in their gift guides. It is a time in the licensing calendar when brands that are less commonly used come to the fore. A good example of this is a range featuring Costa Coffee. This uses a well-known brand effectively but is also a way for retailers to target coffee lovers. Using Costa Coffee adds credibility and encourages pick up. The range features coffee mugs, glassware, accessories and, of course, coffee. Another good example of a power brand's effective use in this category is a range of vintage Kellogg's cereal bowls co-packed with trial-size boxes of cereal. Simple, but effective.
Other brands that have a great track record in the category include drinks brands like Guinness and Jack Daniels. The gifting companies are also good at reflecting consumer trends in their ranges, which helps retailers maintain a competitive edge. Food and drink gifting is also developed using character brands. Beams recently launched a Wallace & Gromit gift set made up of a bespoke Middle Aged Spread chutney coupled with a cheese knife.
The National Gallery has worked with Scoop Designs to create a food gifting line based on and influenced by famous works of art under the Delicious Art sub brand. This is a good way for the National Gallery to compete in the food category, while Scoop has created a distinct concept that gives them an original offer for retailers. Food and drink gifting is an opportunity that shouldn't be for big retailers only. Indeed, specialist retailers such as Farm Shops and Garden Centres feature quite a lot of gift sets with a focus on areas like chocolate and confectionery.
Food and drink companies are more aware of the potential that gifting offers them. In turn, it is an opportunity that allows retailers to stock products supported by big brand names that are instantly recognised by gift givers. Food and drink gifts are relatively safe bets. Suppliers are category experts. It is worth adding food gifting to your shopping list.
For more information, visit startlicensing.co.uk

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