Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Tip #78: Four Ideas to Have Fun with Licorice

Over the past year, the popularity of licorice as a treat has continued to grow. This week we’re encouraging you to get creative with this classic favorite. Remind adults why they loved this treat so much when growing up and reintroduce it in new ways to the younger generation and you may find new faithful customers.

Below we’ve provided a few ideas we found online along with some of our own ideas to get your creative juices flowing:
  • Chocolate Storybook creates and sells a chocolate covered licorice stick using red Twizzlers. It’s even beautifully presented!
  • Have fun with packaging! Dylan’s Candy Bar sells bin-like containers full of licorice while Southern Season has put together a licorice sampler that also presents itself as a tray when the lid is removed.
  • Licorice is created in a variety of colors so package and display them according to the seasons. For example, pair red, white and blue for Memorial Day and Independence Day; black and orange varieties for Halloween; brightly colored varieties for Spring and Summer; and, of course, red and white or red and green for the Christmas season.
  • An assortment of licorice shapes are available world-wide. From Scottish terriers to lighthouses to sea creatures, you may be surprised by what you can find. See what’s available and what your customers would like (i.e.starfish are great if you are by the ocean) and provide them in your store. Be sure you present them in a way that draws attention to the unique shape.

If you have additional unique or fun licorice ideas, please share them in the comments below! As a reminder to members, the RCI Buyer’s Guide is a great place to find licorice suppliers.

P.S. If you’re not with Retail Confectioners International in Cincinnati this week for our 93rd Annual Convention & Industry Expo, be sure to check out our Facebook page for event photos!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Tip #77: Partner with Local Businesses

This week’s tip will help you increase sales of your candies outside of the retail store.  By partnering with local businesses, you could increase sales and spread the word about your quality products.

Find which retailers in your area are running promotions via the paper, radio or social media and approach them to offer your products as their promotion. For example, if a customer makes a purchase, instead of just a coupon, the customer receives a two or four-piece box of your candies along with it. While customers appreciate coupons, remind the local retailer that the customer will also remember that they went the extra mile by providing quality chocolates. You both win!

Another great local partner could be car dealers. Put together a “Thank You” sample gift to show car dealers what they can purchase from you to give to new car owners. Let them know they may customize a gift basket with their corporate promotional items such as pens, coffee mugs, etc.

If you have ideas for other local partnership for candy businesses, please share them in the comments below!

Members of Retail Confectioners International: This tip is part of a past Kettle Talk article titled How to Increase Your Candy Sales (January/February/March 2011 issue).  Access digital versions of this issue and other past issues of Kettle Talk by signing in to the RCI website as a member. Then, navigate to Publications under the Member Resources tab and click on Kettle Talk.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Tip #76: Use the Right Chocolate for Inclusions

We have another very quick tip for you this week. It’s all about making sure your chocolate is perfectly tempered for the best results.

Using inclusions in your chocolates? From nuts to coconut to dried fruits, the possibilities are endless for items to include or mix into chocolate and create unique flavors and presentations. However, did you know that you should use slightly under tempered chocolate when using inclusions? Because inclusions are room temperature they could easily, and quickly, over temper your chocolate when adding them to perfectly tempered chocolate.

What does this mean for your chocolate inclusion creations? Chocolate that is not in temper effects the final product in terms of bloom, texture and even the glossiness of the chocolate. Therefore, take this week’s tip to heart and pay close attention to the temper of your chocolate when using inclusions.

This tip was provided at our 2013 Chocolate Boot Camp education course. Find information on additional courses and events hosted by Retail Confectioners International on our website.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Tip #75: Take Advantage of Suppliers’ Show Specials

In light of our upcoming 93rd Annual Convention & Industry Expo, this week’s tip is to save money by placing orders at industry tradeshows.

In addition to seeing new product innovations and meeting suppliers and fellow confectioners face to face, you can save money on items such as packaging, machinery and ingredients by attending industry tradeshows. Many exhibitors will provide show specials just for those who take advantage of placing orders while at the show. For example, you could secure a reduced shipping rate, free product samples, or deep discounts by placing the same order you were going to place when the need arose a couple months from now. Note that most suppliers will allow you to place an order and arrange for later shipping dates so you could even place your Christmas order and know it will arrive at a later arranged date.

Who will you meet at our upcoming Industry Expo?   View the floor plan here, including exhibiting company descriptions and show specials to plan your orders! And make plans to be at the RCI Industry Expo in Cincinnati, June 25 and 26!