Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Tip #13: Choosing the Right Packaging for Your Candy and Chocolates

The subject of packaging could easily cover multiple blog posts so we are just focusing on one of the many important factors to consider today.

Did you know that the inks in your packaging as well as the type of packaging (cello, cardboard, etc.) you choose could affect the taste of your chocolates and candy? You may have a delicious chocolate treat and then put it in a beautiful package but after it has been in the package for a short time, it may begin to take on the taste of the cardboard, for example. That means your customers may not be tasting the true flavor of your confections.

So, how does one go about determining if your confections taste different because of packaging? A taste test, of course.

Sample your products before packaging them and then test different packaging methods. Keep your confections in the package for as long as they would normally be on the shelf and then at the end of that period begin your taste test. Be sure that you have a ‘control’ confection so that you first taste what your product should taste like and then taste the ones that have been in the packaging.  Do they taste the same? If not, there are many variables to consider but one of them should be to talk with your packaging supplier about options.  You want the beauty of your packaging to match the wonderful taste of what’s inside.

Do you need new packaging ideas? As an RCI member, you can find packaging suppliers in the annual Membership Directory and Buyer’s Guide. If you’re not an RCI member, why haven’t you joined? Find more information about joining by visiting retailconfectioners.org/join.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Tip #12: Help Your Customers Celebrate American Chocolate Week

We’re so excited this week is American Chocolate Week! If you have a store in the U.S., or if you have American customers, here are a few fun ways to help your customers celebrate this sweet week:

  • Create a new chocolate-themed secret password each day that customers can only find via your social media; if they use the secret password while visiting your store, they could get a prize plus a coupon towards a future purchase. (Tip: The coupon encourages them to come back again.)
  • Encourage your customers to share the joy of American Chocolate Week with someone else by having a “Buy One, Get One” deal. For example, “Buy One, Get One Free” or “Buy One, Get One Half Off.”
  • See it as an opportunity to educate your customers and have a fun chocolate trivia question each day in store or on your Facebook page. Anyone who posts the correct answer could be put into a drawing for a free pound of chocolates.
  • Utilize your relationships with the media (you have those, right?) and pitch an American Chocolate Week story, based on your store, of course. This could definitely create exposure and enrich your customer base.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Tip #11: Making Less Mess with Moulds

Does your chocolate make a bit of a mess when shaking out the excess chocolate from your molds like this photo? Sure, you have parchment paper to catch the chocolate as it falls but it probably still lands in other undesired places. A quick and cheap shopping trip for a small or medium plastic storage tub will help take care of this problem. Set the tub on your work table and set your mold upside down on top of the tub so gravity can drain the chocolate. Be sure to get a tub that has a wide enough opening at the top that your mould will easily fit down into. When you are ready to shake the excess chocolate from your moulds, place the mould down into the tub so that as you shake it all of the chocolate that flies out will land in the tub - not on you, the floor or the table.  Plus, if you line your entire tub with parchment paper, when the chocolate hardens you can easily peel it away to be reused. Less mess and less waste!

We’ve got to give credit where credit is due. We picked up this tip from one of our Chocolate Boot Camp instructors. Thanks, Dennis Witzel, Linnea’s Cake & Candy Supplies, Inc.!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Tip #10: Stay Connected to the Chocolate and Candy Industry

Relationships are the key to success in any industry. Therefore, the networking and resulting connections made in the chocolate and candy industry will be invaluable to the success of your business. At RCI, we are passionate about connecting you with other candy makers and with your industry suppliers. That is why today's tip is to register for our Spring Regional Institute before the early-bird discount expires next Thursday, March 15, 2012. Both members and non-members are welcome at this confectionery industry event being held in Jacksonville and St. Augustine, Florida. The week features education sessions such as email marketing, succession planning and Good Manufacturing Practices. Plus, we will go behind-the-scenes for tours of area candy stores. It's a week you don't want to miss! Visit retailconfectioners.org/regionals for all of the details today.

One last thing - you can also stay connected to the industry from your inbox by signing up for our FREE industry eNewsBrief. Sign up here and once a week you'll receive an email with highlights of what is happening in the chocolate and candy making industry, affectionately known as the confectionery industry.