Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Tip #181: Get to Indy!

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Are you a candy maker or chocolatier? Don’t miss RCI’s Annual Convention &Industry Expo in Indianapolis June 20-24, 2016.

Here’s 4 Quick Reasons Why You Should Get to Indy!

1. Touch, smell and even taste products from some of the industry’s best suppliers at RCI’s Industry Expo. When shopping for a piece of equipment, nothing beats the experience of seeing that enrober purr like a kitten right in front of your eyes. The same goes for examining packaging samples in your hands or taste-testing different varieties of chocolates until you find the perfect fit.

2. Something magical happens at RCI events. There’s a buzz of shared ideas and experiences throughout the week. This is a great way for candy makers of all levels of experience and expertise to get new recipe ideas, troubleshoot with suppliers, get ideas for your next promotion and make connections with other industry professionals.

3. Sharpen your skills and your knowledge with relevant education sessions designed for retail confectioners and taught by industry experts. Learn how advancements in technology allow business owners to operate a business by their fingertips and how industry innovations can lead to increased efficiency, just to name a few.

4. One of the most popular components of any RCI event are the behind-the-scenes tours. Through guided tours of manufacturing facilities and sneak peeks of storage rooms, awaits ideas and inspiration ready to catch fire. Nowhere else can you experience this level of idea-sharing. 

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Tip #180: Celebrate American Heart Month in February

As if we needed another reason to “heart” chocolate, the scientific journal Heart published a recent study linking “habitual chocolate consumption” to a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease. Read it here.

This isn’t the first study to link chocolate to heart health. Other studies have also led scientists to believe that the plant compounds found in cacao beans, known as polyphenols, seem to improve the health of our blood vessels. Polyphenols cause blood vessels to expand, reducing blood pressure. Individuals with healthy blood vessels and healthy blood pressure are less likely to develop heart disease.

Unfortunately, there are no claims that chocolate is by no means the end-all, cure-all when it comes to heart disease or health in general. It is a good excuse to educate customers on the health benefits of chocolate next month and encourage trial of dark chocolate (65% cocoa or above).

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Tip #179: Get To Know Gluten

“Do your chocolates contain gluten?”

Chances are you’ve heard this question at least once or twice in the last year, if not in the last week.

January 13 is National Gluten-Free Day and if you’re not familiar with gluten, it may be time to get acquainted.

Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye and barley. So sure, chocolate should be completely free of gluten. Before making any claims, do your homework.

Start by contacting your chocolate supplier, because even pure chocolate can contain gluten if processed on the same equipment as wheat. Next, look for gluten-containing ingredients in your chocolates. Common offenders are the products of wheat (cookies) or barley malt (a popular sweetener used in candy).

It is estimated celiac disease affects 1 in 100 people worldwide (Celiac DiseaseFoundation) and even more have gluten sensitivity, a wheat allergy or they are simply trying to avoid gluten for one reason or another. Regardless of their reason, the gluten-free segment has experienced staggering sales growth since the Food and Drug Administration released regulations for gluten-free labeling in 2013.

The Food and Drug Administration requires manufacturers to meet specific standards before labeling their products as gluten free by having their products tested in addition to following other manufacturing and ingredient sourcing protocols.

As an alternative, you may use the phrase “no gluten ingredients,” instead of “gluten free.” This lets the consumer know that there are no gluten ingredients in the product without full certainty gluten cross-contamination hasn’t occurred.

Regardless of your approach, consider ways to inform gluten-leary customers of products available for them. You may identify products that do not contain gluten with a special tag or even create a small display in your store. RCI member, See’s Candies of San Francisco, offers an allergen information list noting which of their candies are unsafe for customers with common food allergies such as nuts, eggs, soy, dairy and gluten. 

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Tip #178: Stick To Your Resolutions

It’s day five of 2016. Are you still holding strong to your New Year’s resolutions?

If so, you may be with a dwindling crowd. Did you know that although 45% of Americans make New Year’s resolutions, only 8% succeed in sticking to their goals (Statistic Brain)?

Set yourself up for a win-win in 2016, by setting SMART goals!

The SMART acronym can also help you set goals for your team. Click here for a list of questions that will help you define SMART goals for your team.