A friend of mine working in one of Dublin’s top legal firms recently drew my attention to the latest trend in corporate gifting. Not pieces of bog oak. Not wine or whiskey. Not crystal glasses.
Bankers and lawyers are now gifting …. biscuits.
But these are not ordinary biscuits. They are hand made and exquisitely iced. The packaging is super premium and luxurious and designed to make the recipient feel very special. You can buy single biscuits all the way through to sharing boxes (and biscuit bouquets).
In the interests of research (and because I always include a Santa present for myself under the tree) I decided to try this out and recently bought a biscuit from the seasonal range on offer from Honeywell Biscuit Company.
My personalized Christmas tree bauble (costing £16.63 including postage) arrived on November 19th. The presentation is beautiful with the packaging alone a delight and every detail considered. The flat box fitted easily through my letterbox and the sturdy (yet pretty) box ensured that my immaculately iced biscuit arrived intact.
Indulgent? Without a doubt.
An ideal present? Absolutely.
Biscuit favours are becoming increasing popular and can be fashioned for any occasion, whether it’s weddings, children’s parties, Christenings or corporate gifting. As we are becoming an occasion-oriented society, with celebrations for just about everything, it is easy to see why small yet durable pieces of edible art are becoming a “thing”. From a corporate perspective it shows just enough thought, without being too personal, and with little risk of offending.
From my own perspective as a “giftee” I always sighed when I opened yet another bottle of red wine (gives me a headache) or whiskey (have never liked hard liquor). Happily someone benefitted as I usually passed them on for the office raffle at Christmas!
The reality is that gifting can be risky. Buying a gift means you have to place yourself into the shoes of the recipient, sometimes someone not well known to you (a colleague or acquaintance). Fun and playful biscuits which present just enough – but not too much – of a “surprise” can solve real gifting problems.
The role of packaging and presentation in all of this, of course, is key. Great packaging is a given and beautiful presentation creates excitement and delight. Given the standardization of the corporate gifting market the uniqueness of a beautifully presented and slightly novelty item which engages the senses and has had a bit of thought invested, is very tempting.
London based Biscuiteers is slightly more high end and their Christmas range features everything from snowglobes to a nativity box of biscuits. This company also runs workshops where you learn to ice your own creations. Starting at £45 for a 1.5 hour session these are not cheap but the idea of being expertly guided through the delicate icing process and bringing home one’s own work is rather appealing.
Following some additional research, I was surprised at the large number of companies specializing in personalized biscuits in the UK. These include Biscuit Village, The Bespoke Biscuit Company, The Cake Store, The Biscuiterie, Biccies and others.
Coming up to the Christmas shopping period this got me thinking about how seasonal food gifting has evolved over the years. Hampers have long been popular of course, but has food gifting moved on from this? Is there a need to be more personal, quirky, thoughtful?
Recent figures from the US market show that just under half of the population regularly purchase speciality food gifts, particularly at key buying occasions such as Christmas. Not surprisingly chocolate leads the way in food gifting accounting for 28% of purchases. But this was closely followed by baked goods as gifts at 19% of the market. In Ireland, with online shopping for gifts on the rise (total gifting spend online by individual was €448 in Christmas 2017), food items could be the perfect alternative for easy, risk-free presents.
“Money can’t buy you love, but it can get you some really good chocolate ginger biscuits.” Dylan Moran