Why producers are joining forces on Christmas hampers

26 November 2020, 09:29 AM
  • After a tough year, producers are coming together to support one another through the festive season by collaborating on hampers and selection boxes
Why producers are joining forces on Christmas hampers

Hampers are a familiar sight around the holidays. A well-curated selection all wrapped up and ready to go under the tree can be irresistible to time-rushed customers keen for easy gifting options.

But this year more than ever before, hampers are providing a key opportunity for food and drink producers to pool their resources and boost sales throughout the festive season.

In Wales, more than 50 food and drink producers have collaborated to create a unique range of gift boxes and hampers ahead of Christmas. By bringing together a range of local products – from meat and chutneys to pâté, beer, chocolate and cheese – they’re hoping to make it easier for consumers to shop across a variety of Welsh brands.

Many of the producers involved were brought together by Food & Drink Wales’ Fine Food Cluster initiative, which aims to foster connections between businesses in the sector.

James Wright, managing director at Aber Falls Distillery, which is involved in the hampers, said the cluster initiative has “proved to be an innovative way to unite what may be quite isolated parties from the public and private sectors, for mutual benefit”.

He continued: “We at Aber Falls Distillery are delighted to be involved in just such a cluster, which has produced a range of hampers created from local produce that reflect our heritage, culture and environment.

“We are ambitious for this initiative and hope that it will lead to further and sustained collaboration long into the future,” James said.

Other producers involved with the cluster initiative agreed with James. Emma Morris from Trailhead Fine Foods, said: “It’s amazing to see Welsh food and Drink producers joining forces to provide a great hamper offering.”

“The clusters just keep delivering more ideas and opportunities for Welsh businesses and these hamper boxes are just another example,” added Maggie Ogunbanwo from Maggie’s Exotic Foods.

The gift boxes and hampers range from sweet to savoury with plenty of tipples and treats in between, and they are available on the Cywain Producers’ Map as well as directly from 10 of the Welsh food and drink producers involved. Lord Newborough, owner of Rhug Estate, which has also joined the hamper project, said the selection boxes would “set the celebratory tone” this Christmas.

“By working together, the Welsh food and drink companies have created something special which not only embodies the spirit of collaboration but of Christmas,” said clusters team leader Sioned Best.

Around the UK, local producers are showing the same spirit of togetherness by creating similar collaborative hampers. For example, Leeds Indie Food Directory has launched a shop of products from the region’s businesses, including hampers packed with locally sourced goods for festive season gifting. The hampers are tailored to coffee lovers, foodies and those with a soft spot for Leeds’ brewery scene. “Our hampers are a limited edition trial, but we hope to roll them out more frequently as we move into 2021,” explained Simon Fogal of Chapter 81, which is behind the initiative.

Elsewhere, food producers are using hampers to collaborate with charities. The family butchers Canvin & Catchpole is working with The Felix Project, which redistributes nutritious surplus food to charities and schools, for their Holiday Hunger Christmas Hampers.

Each hamper includes Canvin & Catchpole’s Aberdeen Angus dry aged wing rib along with booze-infused smoked salmon, vintage Cheddar cheese and more – plus, each order will provide up to 12 hot meals to help tackle child hunger.

“As the global pandemic has brought so much difficulty to people’s lives, our Christmas hampers are designed to help bring back some joy this Christmas. We hope the delicious goodies will brighten up people’s homes and the hot meal donations will do the same for children in need too,” said Luke Canvin.

Christmas hampers offer a brilliant way for the food and drink industry to work together, collaborate with charitable projects and give consumers exactly what they want at this time of year: a simple gift with a touch of something special.

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