The food gifting market in the US hit $11.15bn in 2012, up 2.5% from 2011, according to a new report from MarketResearch.com.
The report suggested that while the sector is experiencing growth, there remains a plethora of untapped opportunity.
Matt Hudak, US country analyst at Euromonitor International, said that within the bakery and snacks market, opportunities are in cookies, cupcakes and baked goods.
“Or really any area that can lend itself to indulgence,” Hudak told BakeryandSnacks.com.
Indulgence and customization
“Manufacturers must make their products more indulgent or increase the level of personalization that a consumer can put into a product,” he said.
Indulgence and personalization can be heightened with packaging investments, he said, for example if the packaging allows for customization, if it is gift wrapped or the food is displayed in an appealing arrangement.
A push towards premium could also aid sales, he added. “To an extent, consumers might not trust the quality of an exceedingly cheap gift.”
However, MarketResearch.com suggested otherwise: “To expand purchase frequency, we believe the industry can do more to ensure that food gifts are priced at tiers that allow for expanded lower-income market participation.”
Seasonal opportunities, particularly online
Hudak identified clear seasonal opportunities: “Seasonal products are very popular right now, as even on a tight budget consumers still see it as a time to indulge.”
“The big opportunities for seasonal food gifting are obviously dependent on how often gifts are associated with the season. So Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Christmas, Valentine’s Day and Easter are all good bets. But other less gift-orientated holidays will likely still be somewhat successful,” he said.
Tapping into these prospects could be best done online, he said, as it enables easy food gifting for consumers living far apart.
Online retailers that offer a gift wrapping or personalization service of some kind would be ideal in pushing sales, he added.
“If manufacturers can give consumers the level of personalization and ease that they want when giving gifts, the food gifting trend could be set to stay for the long-term,” Hudak said.