by Joe Henry | November 22, 2016
As the saying goes, the fastest way to your star employees' hearts is through their stomachs -- which is why food baskets are a continuously popular incentive item.

This year, there's a new-old entrant offering corporate gift baskets: after an absence from the space, Hickory Farms has returned in full force.

"As the new CEO of Hickory Farms, I am delighted to be leading this company as we celebrate our 65th Anniversary and focus on growing this great brand, continuing our tradition of offering special products with rich flavors and uncompromising quality.," said Diane Pearse, president and CEO of Hickory Farms. "We have great products for the corporate gifting market.  We're investing in the b-to-b incentive market space, as it is an important market for growth and we believe our delicious gifting options are a great option that fits in with the trend in food gifting."

"We have these perfect gifts, no matter who you're giving it to or what budget you're looking at," said Amy Alpert, the company's manager of brand marketing.

The Simply Hickory Farms gift basket is one of the company's popular items, as it comes with an array of signature products, including an assortment of artisanal cheeses (Two different cheddars and a creamy gouda), apples and pears, jams and mustards, beef sausages and a bottle of chardonnay.

But if you want a lot of food with tremendous variety -- particularly ideal for people planning a massive holiday party -- there's the All Day Celebration gift basket, which comes with four varieties of sausages, two types of crackers, five different artisanal cheeses, mustards and a eclectic mix of sweets and nuts. 

Of course, if these particular gift baskets aren't quite to taste, Hickory Farms has many others, and can build custom, personalized gift baskets as well, says Amy Alpert, the company's manager of brand marketing. "We have these perfect gifts, no matter who you're giving it to or what budget you're looking at," she says. "And outside of the holiday season, we can work on other programs. There are nine other month of the year where we work on rewards, incentives, anniversaries, birthdays, company outings -- any of that."

But perhaps your employee is a full-on carnivore. Omaha Steaks has a huge assortment of gift baskets, as well as customizable options. The most extravagant? One of the 12 options in the Ambassador Collection. This massive tray of meat has options that include 12 six ounce filet mignons or 12 eight ounce ribeyes.

If you're into seafood, one can select instead the Seafood Sampler, with salmon fillets, mahi mahi streaks, stuffed sole with scallops and crab meat, and cod fillets. 

There's even a straight vegetarian option (veggie burgers, vegetable lasagna, roasting vegetables and asparagus spears) and a selection for those with a major sweet tooth (brownies, tarts, and cakes).

If that's too much food, Omaha Steaks also offers similarly-themed gift baskets of more modest size --such as the smaller portions available in the Manager's Collection.

For those who just want sweet snackables, check out the offerings from Harry and David and Lake Champlain Chocolates. Both provide towering gift baskets filled with candies or nuts, as well as slightly more portable options -- like simple boxes of chocolates.