We are all familiar with the saying, ‘like a kid in a candy store’. It takes us immediately back to our childhoods, when you’re in a shop stacked full of treats clutching your pocket money in front of a mouthwatering range of goodies. And that’s before walking out with a delicacy such as a hard candy cane, a pick and mix selection or a candy bar to satiate any greed until the next visit. But stacking the candy store, either in reality or by creating an attractive online shop takes a lot of thought and work to help attract the sweet-toothed, no matter what age they are. The right range of candies is crucial in making the whole attraction work in the first place.
From candy stores to cinemas, an absolute must-have on the counter is a selection of gummy treats. These beloved gelatin-based sweets are usually laid out in a colorful array allowing patrons to pick and choose their own according to taste.
Invented in Britain in the mid-19th century, the thick and chewy treats are beloved the world over. Chewy and malleable, sweet or sour, they come in practically every shade of color and fruity flavor that you can think of, and any shape that’s possible to mould can be made into a treat:
- Jelly babies of course have been delivering taste experiences for generations
- But sharks, dinosaurs and elephants have also been made
- That’s not to mention ‘nasty’ little creatures such as spiders and bats and even worms, giving an extra experience eating them.
- It can’t be denied that they aren’t sometimes controversial. For example, once you could buy ‘road kill’ gummies – treats made in the shape of creatures that were run over by vehicles.
They have since been discontinued, as it was claimed that they would give children a poor idea of animal husbandry. But some manufacturers have taken a more responsible approach, adding extra supplements such as vitamins and proteins that can help children who aren’t able to or simply won’t take conventional pills.
Old School Sweets
The sector is always evolving, with new lines and creations going on sale all the time. However, many people will have fond memories of the sweets that marked their childhood, and the smell of many old favorites that have stood the test of time might inspire a nostalgic buy either for themselves or to introduce the next generation to what their parents and grandparents previously adored.
These are traditionally bright candies often stored in glass or plastic jars, whole shelves of lemon or strawberry pink bonbons, hard sweets with soft centers. They were made to be sucked on until the casings dissolved to allow access to the chewy goodness inside, and often weighed out on scales. If you were really lucky the shopkeeper might smile and leave one or two extra for you, a guarantee of repeat business if ever there was one!
Find any of the old treats on https://www.french-candy.com/sugar-free-pastilles-35.
A more recent trend in candy stores has been the unstoppable rise of shops aimed at the top end of the market. As well as one-person-band artisan stores run by chocolatiers with a passion for using only the very best quality ingredients, multiple chains have opened offering high quality chocolate in traditional flavors. But they have also experimented, adding everything from coffee to Turkish delight to mint to honey to almonds in the most beautifully designed candies – some of which are even sugar free! The creators are introducing a gourmet take to the luxury end of the market. The expectation here extends to bespoke and often individual packaging, both of each piece of chocolate or individual store. It’s a massively growing market, and it’s worth considering trying a small selection in with the licorice all-sorts and multi-colored goodies already in store.
There is of course, an elephant in the room. Too much of a good thing is bad for you, there is no denying that. Too many juicy sweets can help contribute to tooth decay in children and further down the line diseases such as Type 2 diabetes in adults.
Manufacturers have increasingly been taking such issues and concerns of parents over processed sweets on board. Organic ingredients are being used as a substitute for processed, for example, in an attempt to provide healthier treats. In America, this can result in organic candies receiving one of two levels of certification, depending on the percentage of healthy and wholesome ingredients used.
There’s also a case to be made for stocking your store or e-shop with candies made from the highest quality ingredients so as to attract health-conscious parents. They will be anxious that their offspring are eating only the finest quality treats. They consider these sweets as an extension of having them on a diet of high quality food, or because they don’t want them bouncing off the walls with the chemical rush!
Sugar free candies are becoming big business as parents and adults try to cut down on their intake of the substance, so a well-advertised selection will only help to attract fresh business.
With the increase in allergies and gut conditions such as coeliac, consider stocking a gluten free range to extend your client base to a woefully-underserved section of the population.
Storing your Sweets
It’s no secret that candies have a long shelf-life, even those that are made with perishable ingredients, such as milk chocolate. However, certain sweets do need looking after. For example, putting sugar-coated pastilles together will eventually result in them congealing together to create an unappetizing, sticky goo as gravity takes its toll and they collapse on each other. To get the very best out of your wares, a little bit of tender loving care will give them an extra-long shelf life.
First of all, an air-tight lid for every sweet box is crucial to getting that extra mile out of your wares. This will keep them dry and help cut down on waste. If, for example, someone buys a quarter-pound of Haribo gummies, they won’t want sweets that taste as if they are damp, as it impairs the taste and makes the shop seem unhygienic.
No matter what precautions are taken, some candies are more susceptible to conditions than others. Treats made with caramel or mint, for example, will attract moisture, while the likes of fudge will dry out. Don’t keep them together.
Always ensure that the goods are kept in a mild temperature, and crucially, away from direct sunlight. If you have a cool kitchen at the back of the shop, it’s even better.
If the delicacies have already arrived individually wrapped, then leave them like that.
Finally, of course, always observe the best before date that the sweets may have come with. Take extra care with a sweet containing perishable ingredients, such as fruit ‘n’ nut or milk chocolate, that you do not have them for sale past their best. Nothing lasts forever, and selling out of date wares is the surest way to kill your business. And remember that some treats, such as cotton candy floss, can never be stored.
Remember, in these days of endless competition with bigger players, all is not lost. It is perfectly possible to take on the bigger ‘chocolate factories’ as it were. A little bit of imagination with layout will produce an attractive, colorful, fun shop that will draw in paying punters from aged eight to 80.
Don’t be afraid to experiment with newer offerings on the market. They will sit peacefully alongside the old favorites that were beloved of previous generations. Taking a punt on new trends, not just new versions of old-style sweets will pay off too. As people become more health-conscious, and concerned about the long-term effects of some food on their teeth, never mind their bodies, then it’s only natural that they will gravitate towards healthier-based treats. With a bit of tender loving care, your stock will last longer, and most importantly, be in with a better chance of being sold by catching the eye of a discerning customer, and giving a very sweet profit at the end of the day. Not to mention the satisfaction of giving a small treat to every patron!