Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Tip #83: Boil Corn Syrup for Marshmallow

Since August 10 is S’mores Day and August 30 is National Toasted Marshmallow Day, we’re providing a quick marshmallow tip today.

Have you had issues with chocolate-covered marshmallows cracking? We’ve got a quick solution for you: boil your corn syrup for the marshmallow to get rid of the yeast. Here’s how it works, according to our expert panel:

Most 42DE corn syrup is contaminated in a small way with yeast bacteria.  It doesn’t affect most products because the yeast is killed when the syrup is cooked above a boil.  The problem comes when you are using it in marshmallow. -  the syrup is added to the bob* after it is removed from the fire and never gets warm enough to kill the bacteria.  To fix this, pre-weight the corn syrup for the marshmallow into a copper kettle and bring it to a very low boil.  Don’t allow it to come to a rolling boil because that would remove too much moisture.  Just as it begins to boil it should be removed from the fire.  Do this early in the day and allow it to cool to room temperature before it is added to cooked portion of the marshmallow.  A fellow candy maker did this and never had a cracked Easter egg again.

*What’s a “bob?” The bob is the sugar slurry that is cooked prior to adding the other ingredients.  Bobs for cooked creams and fudges are pretty much the same - the flavor or texture comes from the added ingredients (i.e. chocolate into chocolate creams, strawberries into strawberry creams, etc.).  Bobs are the basic beginnings for most cooked candies.

This tip was shared during an expert panel at an RCI regional event. Retail Confectioners International has great events just around the corner to help you stay connected! Visit retailconfectioners.org/events for information on our 2013 Fall Regional in Buffalo, New York and 2014 Winter Regional in Barbados this January.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Tip #82: Add RCI’s Classified Ads Page to Your Web Favorites

Looking to buy or sell used confectionery equipment, post a confectionery job or purchase or sell a confectionery business? Then be sure to utilize this week’s tip to add the Classified Ads page on the Retail Confectioners International website to your website browser favorites.

The Classified Ads page is consistently one of the most viewed pages on our website. Both RCI members and non-members are invited to post an ad and available categories include For Sale, Wanted and Job Postings. Updates are made to the page on a regular basis and you’ll find a variety of used equipment and supplies available for purchase.

So, what are you waiting for? Take a moment to visit the Classified Ads page and add it to your web browser’s favorites. Then, when you have equipment to buy or sell or a job to post, be sure to post it with RCI.

Looking to get more familiar with the RCI website and the resources available there? Check out this blog post that lists some of the popular industry resources.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Tip #81: Heat Tops to Cap Shell Moulding

This week’s tip is quick and easy, yet it’s one you’re going to love if you do shell moulding at your candy store.

Have you had problems with filling leaking through after you have capped your shell moulds? We’ve got a simple fix for you that was shared during our 2013 Chocolate Boot Camp course. Before capping with chocolate, gently use a heat gun or blow dryer on low to the tops of the shell moulds to make the hardened chocolate sticky. Then, quickly put the back end chocolate on to help it adhere together and close well. No more leaks!

Want to learn more tips and tricks on moulding? Retail Confectioners International is hosting a Mechanics of Moulding course in Buffalo, New York this September. Find schedule details and register online today at retailconfectioners.org/moulding.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Tip #80: Choose One Message with Email Marketing Specials

When you send emails to customers, are you providing product specials, promos and coupons? If so, pay close attention to this week’s tip to choose one message with email marketing specials.

According to RCI partner Constant Contact, you should only provide one choice for ‘Click Here to Buy Now’ in your emails. Oftentimes, business owners create an email with multiple offers thinking that the more offers available, the higher the likelihood that the reader will select one. However, in research by Constant Contact, they found that response rate is much higher from readers when they don't have as many choices to select from.

Therefore, when crafting your marketing emails, select one message you would like to convey. For example, if you are aiming to promote your ice cream, make the entire email about ice cream. Consider including customer comments, tips for ice cream toppings and inclusions, links to order online and one special promotion. Be sure to include great pictures but bear in mind that some email providers automatically block images so test that the email message is conveyed even if images are not displayed. Make the promotion or special very clear by providing the link multiple times once within the email.

If you are using an email provider such as Constant Contact, you will be able to immediately see the response from your readers. Monitor statistics such as how many people opened your email and even see exactly which links were clicked on most by readers. Of course, the loudest statistic will be the number of promotions or specials purchased through the links within the email.

RCI Members:  Did you know you can receive an EmailMarketing discount with Constant Contact?
Not an RCI member?  Join today and receive member benefits, including a discount with Constant Contact 

Check out additional email marketing tips on the RCI blog! Tips include Welcome Your Email Subscribers, Five Ways to Grow Your Email Marketing List, Create Customer Value in Your Email Marketing

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Tip #79: Refresh Yourself by Reading More

“Not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers.”  - Harry S. Truman

When is the last time you read a book to help you be a better business owner and leader? This week’s tip is to head to your local bookstore or library and pick up a book today!

A variety of topics within the business realm are available, from management to change innovation to marketing to leadership and more. By reading a book on these topics, you open up your mind to new ideas and processes for your company. In addition, as you become a better leader and manager through reading and applying what you learn, the better you will be able to lead your organization and team to continued success.

Seth Godin, business guru, has a helpful post about how to read a business book, including deciding before you even start that you’re going to change three things about how you work. By making a goal before you open the book, you’re less likely to read and then put it down without ever implementing the ideas and knowledge gained from the book. Reading without implementing would be quite a waste of your time!

We understand that your time is limited and you are likely wearing multiple hats. Therefore, we’ve found a resource that will help you pick a great book from the hundreds of business books available. Check out “The 100 Best Business Books of All Time” for a quick synopsis of some of the greatest business books and how they can help your business. Find the ones that cover topics you need most and start reading today!

Wondering why we focused on business books when we’re writing for candy makers? Don’t worry; you know we love confectionery books, too!  We’ve already provided a great list of must-reads for confectioners as a weekly tip last April.

P.S. Happy Canada Day and Independence Day to our Canadian and American readers! (Canada Day – July 1, Independence Day – July 4)