A picnic hamper stuffed full of treats is something many of us associate with Christmas, but a well put together hamper can be a thoughtful gift all year round. While some people like to curate their own, there are many pre-made hampers that customers can choose from which go the extra mile.

If you run a business such as a shop, cafe or restaurant, then offering the option for customers to purchase hampers full of your products is a great way to boost sales, and attract new customers in the future. If you’re new or unfamiliar to the world of hampers, then you might be unsure about where to start; from the type of basket to choose, to the products you put in. Luckily, we’ve put together a useful guide about how to create a perfect hamper, from the chutneys and cheese to include, to luxury extras like chocolates or champagne. If you want to know more about how to put a hamper together, and find out why it makes the perfect gift, then read on to find out more.

What products should you include?

The hamper market has rapidly expanded over recent years, and you can now purchase non edible varieties featuring beauty products, baby clothes or flowers. However, here we will focus on the more traditional edible hamper, and there are certain staples that you’ll find in almost every one, including cheese, chutney or relish, jam, or biscuits. Many hampers focus around non-perishable items, but you can add some fresh products too, and seasonal items depending on the occasion. To find out more about each hamper ingredient, see below.

Cheese

You can’t go wrong with cheese (especially at Christmas), and there are many varieties to suit every taste. If you want to include a few, it’s a good idea to choose a classic blue cheese like Stilton, a good quality cheddar, and something soft like a camembert or goats’ cheese. If your business doesn’t have a local supplier or nearby farm to buy cheese, then you can easily obtain high quality, affordable cheese from a wholesale cheese supplier.

Chutney and jam

Aside from crackers, cheese’s other natural pairing is a delicious chutney or relish, and at least one type should be included in the perfect hamper. A classic red onion marmalade is perfect with cheddar or goats’ cheese, or cut through richer cheeses with a tangy chutney such as spicy tomato relish or apple and chilli.

Sweet options are always welcome too; like a luxury marmalade or lemon curd, or breakaway from the classic strawberry jam with a festive flavour like cranberry or damson.

Festive treats

The majority of people make or purchase hampers at Christmas, but this doesn’t have to be the case. However, they are very popular, so many hampers will want to include some festive favourites like Christmas pudding or mince pies. For something fun for customers to use at home, you could also add some mulling syrup or spices, so they can make their own warming mulled wine.

You don’t need to stick to Christmas however, an Easter hamper makes a lovely spring alternative, and you could use many of the products listed here, plus a luxury Easter egg, some mini chocolate eggs, or a simnel cake.

Biscuits

Hampers often contain both sweet and savoury biscuits, including oatcakes for cheese, and sweet varieties like shortbread or ginger biscuits. Christmas biscuits are also popular, with flavours ranging everywhere from Christmas pudding, nutmeg and spice, or peppermint.

Tea or coffee

Almost everybody drinks one or the other (or both!), so including some luxury tea or coffee is a welcome and useful addition. Pack some good quality ground coffee and English breakfast tea, plus something more exciting like a loose leaf tea in an unusual flavour – try a winter spice mix, gingerbread chai or fresh mint.

Alcohol

It’s certainly not essential, but many hampers include a bottle of wine, champagne, or a spirit such as gin or port. Champagne never goes out of style (and you can pick up some good bargains nowadays), or if you run a restaurant, select some favourite wines from the bottles on sale. Some businesses could even try making and bottling their own gin or vodka in different flavours; sloe gin is always popular in the winter, or for a spring or summer hamper add rhubarb or strawberries.

Meat and fish

With many customers switching to becoming vegetarian or vegan nowadays, it makes sense to offer two different hampers – one with meat and one without. That said, products such as smoked salmon are often very popular in hampers, as are meat pates or cured meats like chorizo and salami.

How to choose a basket

The presentation of your hamper can be just as important as the contents, so choosing the right basket can make all the difference. A wicker basket often looks best, and they’re available in many different sizes and shapes (e.g oval, rectangle or square).

If you want to put together a luxury option for your customers, consider filling a picnic basket (one that comes with plates, cutlery and cups included) with products, so that recipients can get practical use out of the hamper even after the food has gone. Traditional hampers usually come lined in gingham material, but you could choose a colour scheme or pattern that reflects your business instead, or festive motifs like stars or Christmas trees if you plan on selling hampers during the festive months.

Occasions

As mentioned, the majority of hampers are given and received as gifts at Christmas, but there’s no reason why they don’t make a lovely present all year round. A birthday hamper filled with favourite food and drink is a lovely idea, or you could put together ‘celebration hampers’ with champagne, sparklers and cake.

You could also focus hampers around just one or two foods, such as a hamper full of bulk cheese, chutney and crackers for cheese lovers, or a basket of retro sweets for big and little kids alike.

Why it makes a great gift

There are plenty of reasons why hampers make the perfect gift for friends and family; for a start, they’re very practical, and give the recipient the chance to enjoy luxury edible items that they might not usually buy for themselves. As many hamper items also have a long shelf life, you can be sure that they’ll be enjoyed for months to come.

Hampers also have the ‘wow factor’, and come beautifully presented to really make an impact. There are also many different variations available for every budget, whether you want to gift something small to show your appreciation, or go all out with a huge hamper of treats. Hampers also give customers the chance to try some more unique products that aren’t readily available in the supermarkets. Everyday products in unusual or luxury flavours are a big part of a hamper’s appeal.

Finally, hampers can be completely personalised and tailored to the individual, and if you don’t want to buy one pre-made, you can have fun picking out the recipients favourite food and drink to fully cater to their tastes.

If you’re looking for high quality products to put together a hamper for your customers, get in touch with Freshways. As a wholesale food supplier, we sell a wide range of fresh milk and dairy products, including bulk cheese for sale, plus yoghurt, eggs, juices, and a variety of baked goods. As the UK’s largest independent processing dairy, you can be confident that our cheese and dairy products are of the best quality possible, and we deliver to a wide range of businesses across the UK, including hotels, bakeries, cafes and more.

If you’d like any more information about our products, or want to place an order, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us today on 0203 696 7960, or visit our website to find out more.