PPB June 2022

first reflect and listen intentionally. “Joining someone in their space and understanding where they are coming from can help us gain new perspective to approach the relationship in a newway, providing both parties with a renewed interest and endless solutions,” says Schillinger. “It is not simply about showing that you care any longer. Learning how to understand the other party can aid greatly in providing solutions and also break down your own barriers along the way.” If there’s one lesson she’s learned in the last year, it’s that “We are our people.” Schillinger says, “Without community, teams, people, customers. Without one another and a deep sense of appreciation for each and every one of them/us/we, we are nothing.” PPB spoke with Schillinger to get her food-loving advice on upcoming trends in food gifting. A food gifting trend Maple Ridge Farms is anticipating is… as cheesy as it sounds, cheese! Cheese was the very first item in the MRF line, and our charcuterie gifts have tripled in sales in the past two years. Charcuterie gifts allow the recipient to create an experience with a variety of flavors on that board each time they use it. Flavor pairing is on-trend, and the opportunities are endless with our epic and delish Wisconsin cheese. Our case histories show endless uses for food gifting as a solution. Food has created a comfort that recipients crave. We fill that void in a genuine, delicious and meaningful way. It starts with trust, which is a buyer trend in and of itself. Anything experience-related. Recipients are more focused on experiential moments and buyers know that their marketing funds need to create moments to not only be remembered, but to also be shared and reminisced for years to come. A few things that I expect to see in food gifts in the upcoming years… is flavor evolution. The pairing of different flavors together. We currently do this very well; however, we will continue to introduce new flavors to your palate. There will be more protein-based snacking along with smaller snack size options for the ever-changing demographics of teams or workat-home individuals. There is room for improvement in food products because… the topic of food waste and sustainable packaging go hand in hand to support a more environmental approach to overall living. Our current approach to ideation and new product development leads with intentional design. We try to approach packaging with the idea that we want less than 3% of our gift packaging to go to a landfill. The majority of our elements are entirely reusable, recyclable and edible. Valdez is an associate editor at PPAI. Jod i e Sch i l l i nge r | JUNE 2022 | 73 CONNECT