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Should you send food or drinks as corporate gifts?

corporate food gifts and drinks - should you send them

Ryan Campion

April 16, 2019

You’re on the hunt for some great presents for your customers, and you’re entertaining the thought of gifting food or beverages.

You might think, why not send them cookies and a bottle of champagne! Everyone loves booze and treats, right?

Sending corporate food gifts (and beverages) is convenient because there are so many options.

But before you pull the trigger on sending out snacks to your customers, there are some key precautions to consider.

And we share some other business gifting ideas you might want to try later in this post as well.

Potential health dangers

Unless you’ve been living under a rock the past decade, you’ve probably witnessed the explosion of people suffering from food allergies.

Gluten has become a four letter word. Nut allergies are very real and can have deadly consequences. Foods containing eggs, wheat, soy, or milk can pose issues.

You can likely skirt around most of the major offenders, but you just never know which of your recipients might be allergic to an obscure food item or alcohol.

Therefore, exercise caution before your business ships food or drinks to anyone.

You don’t want to find your company embroiled in some legal fiasco because your recipient claims you poisoned them.

Unknown taste preferences

Besides these more severe cases, you also need to contend with the fact that human beings, in general, are quite picky.

How do you know your cupcakes or snickerdoodles are going to impress your intended target?

Hell, what if your recipient is vegan?

Your gift basket loaded with buttery goodness might not go over so well (you can send it my way, though).

A personal example

A bakery recently approached the Printfection team to earn our business.

They sent us 3 wooden cases filled with cookies of various flavors: red velvet, chocolate chip, birthday cake. Yum, right?


They tasted quite bland, sporting about as much flavor as plain oatmeal despite packing a formidable number of calories.

We threw them all out and have no plans to work with that vendor (whose name we cannot now recall).

Violating laws & regulations around shipping alcohol

Certain countries and states throughout the world maintain strict laws about shipping alcohol. Be wary before you consider gifting booze to your clients or prospects.

Corporate food gifts have no branding power

Here’s the big one. Shipping food through the mail is expensive. And the biggest downside of all?

Once your recipient indulges his or her craving for chocolate, you become forgotten. No one recalls who sent the gift after it’s been ingested.

This problem compounds if you send consumable goods to a team of multiple people.

The person who signs for the package might remember you for a fleeting moment, but the dozen or so vultures who swoop down upon your munchies later likely won’t.

We see this all the time around the holidays. Five vendors shipped us various corporate food gifts: assorted fruit baskets, popcorn, crackers, pretzels, etc.

They stocked our bellies for a good two weeks, but none of us can tell you who those vendors were; a nice advertising opportunity wasted.

Your customer or prospect, provided they’re not jerkfaces, will likely appreciate your food or drink gift. But memories are short these days, and that gratitude wanes fairly quickly.

Before too long, your customer forgets you even sent them anything in the first place.

So what’s a better gifting alternative?

One that earns you not only your recipients’ gratitude but generates awareness and recall for your brand over time.

Even if your goal isn’t to drive brand awareness within your customer accounts, you can accomplish it with the right business gifting strategy.

And that hinges upon choosing items you can brand with your logo.

It’s actually the more thoughtful way to go about it as well.

When you’re struggling to find a gift idea, generic catch-all options like food & gift cards become more attractive.

But such basic, effortless gifts don’t garner the same appreciation and continual usage as something more physical and creative.

What does?

Here are just a few ideas:

Got a hunch your customers like to drink? Instead of sending them something they’ll imbibe & immediately discard, offer some sweet whiskey stones.

whiskey stones, more useful than corporate food gifts or drink gifts

Pop them in the freezer and then you can enjoy your chilled beverage without it getting diluted.

You can engrave the box and etch your logomark on the stones as well.

These will often reside in your customers’ offices and kitchens for months to come — garnering you plenty of eyeball impressions in addition to all that gratitude.

If you’re going the food and beverage-themed route, you could consider something like a wine backpack:

wine backpack, an awesome alternative to stale corporate food gifts

You don’t have to guess whether your recipients are a Merlot or Pinot clan, but you can rest assured they will talk about your company’s awesome gift over their picnic.

Targeting beer drinkers? Hit ‘em with a sick branded growler.

Or capitalize on the flurry of new health trends by sending out legit adult lunchboxes! Remember, the best gifts are useful.

lunch bento box, a useful option over sending boring corporate food gifts

You could even send fun t-shirts or hoodies with slogans that match your recipients’ roles.

Since we work with a lot of marketing teams, we like to leverage appropriately-themed t-shirts and stickers.

sticker saying unicorns are just horses with better marketing

Apparel items are tried and true simply because they’re wearable, and thus a great way to get your brand noticed.

Smart corporate gifting = more social shares

When you send branded goods, you also reap tangible social benefits. Kajabi built a kick-ass customer rewards program that leverages social quite cleverly.

They send their customers gifts when they accomplish various milestones within their online business platform.

When their customers receive their branded Kajabi gear, there’s a CTA encouraging them to share on their social networks.

Kajabi tremendously amplifies their online presence from all the social love they receive.

Need corporate gifting ideas for clients and prospects?

If you’re unsure on sending food/beverages, or simply want more ideas of how you can wow customer and prospects with creative gifts, please contact us!

Ryan Campion


  1. Exoticaleathers on May 3, 2024 at 4:31 am

    Insightful discussion on choosing corporate gifts! Your blog provides valuable insights into the considerations between food and drink options.

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