If I asked you what a hamper was, you'd probably say something along the lines of "a large woven or wicker basket filled with an assortment of goodies" and you'd be right, kinda. In reality, a hamper is simply “a collection of food and drink items, usually presented as gifts and sometimes include a hamper basket”.
In an earlier post, we discussed the history of the hamper, however, I feel the term is still confused and I’d like it to put that confusion to rest in this blog.
There is often confusion with the term “hamper” due to colloquial differences between different regions and countries. For example, in North America the term is used to describe a basket to store fresh laundry. What we (in the UK) refer to as a hamper, American people would call a “gift basket”.
As a company who send hampers to the UK and distribute hampers worldwide, you can see how these subtle distinctions in meaning can be difficult for us. After all, we don’t want somebody in North America who’s expecting a laundry basket to receive a luxury wine and cheese gourmet hamper (do we?).
What’s included in a hamper?
In terms of contents of hampers, there isn’t really a written set of rules dictating what can and can’t be included in a hamper, however some combinations are obviously more popular than others. Here is a list of the most popular types of hamper (based on hamper.com’s sales over the last 3 years):
1. Bespoke hampers
At hamper.com we have an online tool that enables people to create their own personalised hamper to send to a friend, relative or colleague (or even keep for themselves). The fact that the ‘Create Your Own’ tool is so popular is quite telling of the nature of the hamper market as it stands. People don’t like restrictions on what they can include in their hamper and every person clearly has their own definition of what a hamper should be, which is what makes ‘Create Your Own’ so popular.
2. Christmas hampers
Christmas is always a busy time of year for us because hampers are often perceived as a festive family treat. We have a variety of Christmas hampers, however the most popular ones typically include wine, cheese, chocolate and a mix of other traditional festive fayre.
3. Chocolate and biscuit hampers
This doesn’t really come as much of a surprise to me (who doesn’t love chocolate and biscuits?). Another reason these hampers are so popular is because they’re suitable for pretty much any occasion, whether you’re saying thank you to somebody, sending a birthday present to a family member, or celebrating retirement, these hampers fit the bill for most scenarios.
4. Wine and cheese
As far as savoury couples go, few go together quite like wine and cheese, it simply is a classic combination. If you’ve ever wondered why cheese and wine complement each other so well, here’s the science.
5. Prosecco and chocolate
Traditionally, hampers would be mainly food based which was later accelerated by the inclusion of wine. As taste and trends change, so do the the content of popular gift hampers. The rise of Prosecco in the UK and other regions has been meteoric. Although Prosecco is often seen as Champagne’s younger, cheaper sibling, you cannot deny the sales stats of the sparkling white wine over the last half decade. It just so happens that it goes perfectly with some delicious chocolate truffles.
What will hampers look like in the future?
Although there’ll always be a place for the traditional big wicker hamper around certain times of the year, I feel the idea of a ‘hamper’ will continue to be re-thought and people will start to perceive them in different ways other than the tradition of a big one off purchase. In essence, instead of a seasonal treat, we hope to see hampers being bought as little treats at any time of the year (as they should be!).