Surprise and delight. Those are top goals for just about any promo, and it’s hard to go wrong with a sweet treat when you want to make a connection that sticks.

“Candy and other food gifts are a great way to say thank you and put a smile on your clients’ or employees’ faces,” says Nadav Raviv, a 2023 PPAI Rising Star and senior national account executive with Ohio-based distributor GBS BrandConnect. “One of the best ways to utilize branded treats is through anniversary or birthday programs that drop ship directly from the factory to your soon-to-be happy end user.”

Options run the gamut from humble hard candies and classic mints to custom-molded chocolates and brand-name treats in promo packaging.

Chelsea Williams, a 2023 PPAI Rising Star and owner/CEO of Spark Branded Solutions in Tennessee, says she “can’t say no to chocolate.” She likes brand names for the trust factor and has had a lot of success with custom M&Ms. “I’ve done them for universities in the university colors – corporate colors, too,” she says. “You can’t beat those, and that brand name is very recognizable.”

Williams suggests candy as a natural fit for hospitality clients, or for room drops at events or desk drops for employees. She and her team look for options that mirror a client’s branding or messaging, and she’s excited about the variety of choices from HPG’s SugarSpot line. For a client whose logo is a pineapple, the Spark team is pitching a pillow pack filled with gummy pineapples and labeled with their logo on the packaging.

“It’s just a really great touch point and makes their client see that they’re going the extra mile,” Williams says, “and it’s really low cost, but really high impact.”

The packaging and decoration can be as important as the contents. For a client celebrating its debut on the stock market with ticker TAFI, the Spark team pitched – what else? – a desk drop of taffy in custom-printed canisters. Williams advises taking full advantage of all available opportunities for customization, as well as pairing an edible gift with reusable packaging or an item that lasts, like drinkware or a bag.

“A lot of people are asking for edible items that also have something that they can keep after the gift is gone,” she says, “and I’ve seen suppliers do a much better job of incorporating a hard good, or maybe it’s the way it’s packaged.”

Weather is also a factor with anything edible. With 2023 the hottest year on record, even hard candy posed a shipping challenge last summer.

“We found that out the hard way with gummy bears” Williams says. “We were going to have to do two-day shipping with ice on those, too, so I think just about anything edible like that in the summer you have to. If you’re really insistent on having candies or something edible, it’s just non-negotiable.”

branded Tony's Chocolonely 3-bar gift box

Add your client’s logo to delicious chocolate from a globally recognized, socially responsible brand with a Tony’s Chocolonely Bars Custom Window Box. Each fully customized box includes three different flavors and full-color printing. Choose from six stock window shapes or create a custom shape.

Midnite Snax / PPAI 113793, Standard-Plus

 pineapple gummy candy in a branded bag

custom labeled jar of champagne gummy drops candy

The SugarSpot line from HPG offers everything from classic hard candies like lemon drops to clever newcomers like these Pineapple Gummies or Champagne Gummy Drops. Choose from 1.3-oz taster packets or 3-oz. or 7-oz. reusable jars, all with custom labels. “I really like how they have all the different price points,” says Williams. “You can’t go wrong between all their different flavors and packaging options.”

HPG / PPAI 110772, Platinum

wooden desk cube filled with chocolate truffles or Jelly Belly jellybeans

Crafted from American beech wood and decorated with firebrand imprint, this elegant almost 4-inch Hardwood Pen & Pencil Cup filled with chocolate covered almonds, Jelly Belly jelly beans or cocoa dusted truffles will be a lasting and useful reminder once the sweet treats are gone.

Maple Ridge Farms / PPAI 114165, Gold

Sweeter Cards chocolate bar greeting cards

Inside every Sweeter Card is a delicious bar of fair trade-certified sea salt caramel dark chocolate, hand-packed by adults with disabilities. Choose a stock card like this Two-Pack Housewarming Gift, perfect for real estate agents or leasing offices, or create your own fully customizable greeting card.

Sweeter Cards / PPAI 810735, Standard-Base

custom printed candy bags filled with custom printed Reese's Pieces or chocolate buttons 

Make an impression with a 2-oz. Full Color DigiBag of custom-printed Reese’s Pieces, chocolate buttons (14 colors available) or other sweets for branding inside and out. The 5-by-4-inch bag features a digital print of your client’s logo or message, and the candy itself is decorated for added fun and impact. Compostable bags are also available.

NC Custom / PPAI 111662, Silver

custom shaped mints in branded tim

Classic mints are still in demand, but Williams says you have to find a way to make it stand out, like a custom shape or clever package, like the tasty Custom-Shaped Mints in full-color tins, made in the USA by Promotunity.

Promotunity / PPAI 622381, Standard-Base