Food For Thought, Food for Marketing

The first important step to evaluate food as a promotional product is to see what’s out there. Go to a major promotional product company and you’ll probably be looking at thousands of products by simply searching for “food.” Most of those foods are going to be of the “candy” variety such as mints, chocolates, toffee and other flavored confectionary items.

Despite the fact that there are tons of candy products are out there waiting to be purchased it might not be clear why they would qualify as a promotional product. Surely there isn’t a way to individually stamp your company logo on a bunch of edible items, especially tiny little mints? Not so. With promotional candy products, it’s mainly about the packaging but in the last few years factories have figured out how to imprint on candies as small as a dime. Mints can come in customizable plastic containers or tin containers, and some manufacturers have a variety of container shapes to pick from. Chocolates and other candy are often individually wrapped, sometimes printable, or will have a bigger box reserved for printing.

Other snacks are numerous as well, such as microwaveable popcorn, peanuts and even crackers. With these, all the customization is on the packaging. Since snacks and sports are made for each other, many snack promotions come in the form of special packs that will include other promotional items related to a specific sport. For example, a bucket with peanuts, Cracker Jacks, and a baseball bat.

Then you’ve got beverage-style promotional products, primarily coffees and teas. There are even wines and champagnes being sold as promotional products, with printable labels or even surfaces intended for etching. With drinks especially, a lot of it also happens on related “accessory” items like coffee mugs and napkins. The things that food can be served in are all readily printable or etchable: plates, wine glasses, beer steins, the aforementioned coffee mugs, and even ice buckets.

Now we know what we’ve got to pick from, and we know there are tremendous quantities available to us. Are foods a realistic promotional tool? The downside of food that is immediately obvious is that it is temporary. Food is eaten, and then it’s gone. An important aspect of promotional items is that they stick around a while, and that a recipient of a promotional product will get exposed to the logo or company name on it regularly. With the exception of candy or snacks that come in large quantities, whose packaging will be visible until its contents are completely consumed, is seems like food fails this litmus.

The culinary art form is one that is meant to be consumed, but any chef will tell you that their work doesn’t simply end when a diner consumes the last morsels. Tastes and smells, particularly of food, can be the fast track to a long lasting impression. Provided you use a promotional food item in the right environment, as chefs also know that the d├ęcor is key, you have potential to create a more meaningful connection with your customers or clients than any desktop accessory would create. You can always get or make more food, too.

A high quality bag of coffee beans and a good mug are a great combo. Customers or clients will be waking themselves up using a product bearing your brand, and if the beans are high quality they’ll remember you. The mug will remain in their possession, a constant reminder of your company and the delicious coffee you provided. You can extend this example to other drinks and foods, too. Apple cider, chai tea even lemonade is now available in imprintable packages. Just add water and presto the aroma of apple cider slides you right into memory lane.

All kinds of food items and the variety of accessories are out there many making a powerful combination; a kind of promotional double-whammy that mustn’t be ignored. If you have an event coming up that you might want to incorporate these promotional products into, don’t hesitate to do so!