Giving mishloach manot is one of the central mitzvot of Purim. Everyone should send at least one parcel containing at least two items of ready-to-eat food. The source for this is in Megillat Esther itself, which says that Purim should be observed by "sending gifts of food, each person to his friend" (9:22). The reason is to strengthen the bonds of love and friendship between us. Haman and Ahasuerus tried to exploit the "scattered and separated nature" of Jews in the diaspora; on Purim we try to overcome this and bring prople closer together.
There is a widespread misconception that one is only allowed to send sweets for mishloach manot. One website I visited offered (for a mere $325) de luxe mishloach manot including "pomegranate cocktail infusion, chocolate diamond dipped pretzel rods, merlot-wine nuts and handmade rum-ball confections". The mishloach manot should be something that can be served at the Purim seudah meal. Real food is therefore preferable. We did foccacia and guacamole packages last year, which were a big hit.