Summer Fancy Food Show

Subscription snack boxes are a cost-effective alternative to in-store demonstrations

By Elizabeth Crawford

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Meal Taste

Subscription snack boxes can be a cost effective alternative to in-store demonstrations, which often are viewed as a golden standard for driving initial product trial and gathering consumer feedback.

In-store demonstrations, while effective, also are expensive. Rather than paying upwards of $300 to set up and staff each in-store demonstration, manufacturers can reach thousands of potential consumers for just the cost of the samples if they partner with subscription snack box company Love With Food, according to company CEO and founder Aihui Ong.

She explained that because Love With Food​ does not charge companies to distribute their products in its snack boxes, participants save about 70% compared to in-store demonstrations. 

The company does charge for its consumer insights research. The consumer insights start at $7,500 and focus groups start at $50,000.

The boxes also are carefully curated for different consumer segments, such as a gluten free box, so that manufacturers can be confident their snacks are getting into the right types of consumer hands, said Ericka Gettman Karner, VP of marketing and sales at HannahMax Baking, which distributed its Cookie Chips in a recent box.

She said that she knows the box was well-targeted because the recipients quickly bought extra Cookie Chips from Love With Food’s ecommerce store and often were repeat customers.

Distributing samples through a subscription box also generates social media buzz as recipients often film themselves unboxing their Love With Food delivery, tweet about the brands and describe their experiences with the products on other social media platforms, said Sandy Gencarelli, director of marketing and export sales for Hillside Candy, which soon will appear in its second Love With Food box.

Gencarelli also noted that participating with Love With Food helped it gather consumer insights and build a closer relationship with consumers through a Twitter chat, in which consumers could talk directly with the brands. Gencarelli said she was overwhelmed by the participation volume and response during the chat.

A changing landscape

For Love With Food is just one of many subscription sample boxes, but the number of players in the category already is consolidating.

Ong aims to make Love With Food the largest snack subscription service centered on healthy, junk-free snacks that are tailored to different dietary needs, in part by acquiring smaller, similarly minded subscription snack services. She recently acquired Taste Guru and G-Free Foodie​.

Love With Food is growing so quickly and seeing such strong demand from manufacturers to participate in its boxes, that it recently created a B2B website​ where manufacturers can learn more about the subscription snack process. It also includes case studies to help companies understand what to expect from participation and a form to express their interest in distributing through the box.

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