Many times we fail to capitalize on sales opportunities because we are not prepared. A Christmas holiday season sales opportunity that many meat processors find to be very profitable is gift boxes. When preparing gift boxes you should consider the following:

Items in the gift box

You can use many different items or combination of items for gift boxes.

Refrigerated Items: Bone-in ham, boneless ham and smoked sausage are all popular gift box items. 

Frozen Items: Gift boxes of steaks, chops or seasoned fresh sausages are popular items. Make sure your distribution method allows for the gift box to remain frozen until the recipient receives it.

Shelf Stable Items: Summer sausage, jerky and snack sticks are all very popular. Gift boxes with these products have a couple of advantages; the products have a long shelf life so the gift boxes can be prepared ahead of time, and, since the products are shelf stable, they do not require special temperature controls during distribution.

I think it is a good idea to have 3-5 different styles of gift boxes for your customer to choose from. However, don’t have so many choices it is hard to administer. If you have some specialty items you are well-known for they are excellent items to include in your gift boxes.


Some of the groups you might consider include:

Individuals: Many processors sell a majority of their gift boxes to individuals. I feel it is good to start advertising for this type of sales in early to mid-October before people have finalized their giving plans. You can advertise by posting information in your retail area, emails to customers, flyers you distribute with current orders and sampling in your retail area products that will be in your gift boxes.

Businesses: Many businesses give gifts to both employees and customers. Contact these potential customers early (September or October) as this type of customer typically likes to have their gift giving finalized well in advance of the holidays. To generate sales to these customers it is good to use a combination of mailings and personal contact.

Fundraising: This is often an untapped area that offers the potential for excellent sales not only at the Christmas holidays but throughout the year. School groups, church groups, youth groups and civic groups are all potential customers. Contact them early (about the time school starts in the fall) before they have made their plans for the year. These groups like selling local items. It can be as simple as a box with two 1-lb. chubs of ground beef and one 1-lb. chub of fresh sausage.


Presentation is an important part of customer satisfaction (of both the purchaser and the recipient of the gift) and repeat sales. You want your gift boxes to have a WOW effect when it is opened. 

  1. Include a color flyer that tells a story about your business and the products in the gift box. Share what makes your business and your products special. Include on the note how they can contact you if they have questions or concerns about the gift box contents.
  2. On the outside of the box have a label with instructions for the recipient such as Keep Frozen or Refrigerate Upon Arrival.
  3. Include some holiday colored grass or tissue paper inside the box to give it a festive look.
  4. Make sure all products are attractively packaged with labels appropriately placed on the packages. Attention to detail will give your products a professional look.

When you sell a gift box you really have two customers to satisfy, the purchaser and the recipient. 

Remember: In 2017 plan ahead for Christmas holiday sales - PLAN FOR SUCCESS.