Archive for June, 2015

Tiered Pricing

Wednesday, June 24th, 2015

An article in the June 1st issue of Bake Magazine discusses Tiered Pricing, which normally refers to volume pricing. This strategy encourages shoppers to buy larger quantities of a product by applying discounts based on the quantity ordered.  The article stretches the definition to a somewhat different idea, but still, it discusses how to increase your business’ revenue.

“Tiered pricing is a mechanism that allows a retail bakery to set levels of prices based on different categories — or lifestyles — of shoppers. It is becoming more common to see bakeries take advantage of tiered pricing. You can start by setting one price for the top end of a bakery category, a slightly lower price for the middle, and the lowest price for the bargain hunters. Or make it simpler for the consumer by offering two tiers of prices.

“Bakery owners agree that given the choice, the majority of shoppers will migrate to the middle. But by having a top tier, you can capture dollars that you ordinarily miss. And having a bottom level ensures your bakery will reach those looking exclusively for the best deal and build more customer traffic.”

The article also discusses other pricing tactics. It offers several ideas on how to increase sales, and talks about the importance of avoiding low-price strategies that work for large businesses but does not help the smaller business.

Another approach to increase sales: bake your products in a smaller size that may appeal to different sized families and different income levels. By making small versions, such as mini pies instead of the 9″-10” size, you may reap more sales while still having a healthy mark-up. Your signage can reflect that you also bake these products in several sizes.

You can make larger sized pies


or mini pies.

Home-Based Baking at its Best! Bake Magazine is a good resource for all small home-based bakeries.

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Strawberries, Local and Seasonal

Wednesday, June 17th, 2015

Strawberries for sale at our local farmers' market.

It’s strawberry season! Photo below shows a tasty, unusual idea, from sugar me sweet bakers. Owner Ginny Farris used swiss meringue butter cream on top of fresh strawberry cupcakes to mimic the appearance of ice cream scoops.

Strawberry cupcakes from sugar me sweet bakers.

Other berry good product ideas: stir small pieces of strawberries into muffin, cake, or cupcake batters. Or make strawberry pies –  everything from two crust to hand held pies and poptarts. And then of course there’s the beloved classic strawberry shortcake.

Remember that product size impacts the consumer – medium and individual-sized portions are less expensive and easier to sell. Plus, it’s a way for customers to purchase their own small samples. Post a sign that you take orders for other sizes.

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Home-Based Baking at its Best! Homemade products using local and seasonal produce are sure winners in area farmers’ markets.

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The Trend Toward “Clean” Labels

Wednesday, June 10th, 2015

As the health food and organic foods categories gain momentum, new and existing food businesses are re-discovering the power of menu items that have fewer artificial ingredients. I suspect their motivation is increased sales (as opposed to consumer health) but I applaud the move.

A story this week in talks about Panera Bread:

“By the end of 2016, Panera Bread customers will no longer have to worry about their meal having hints of Azodicarbonamide or Sodium Erythorbate.

“The popular restaurant chain is moving toward a more natural menu as consumers look for food like what’s available at farmers markets, Today Food reports.

CNN Money says Panera is the first national chain to publish a list of artificial ingredients that will be removed from their food. The ‘No No List’ details what preservatives, sweeteners, colors and flavors the company plans to stop using.

“Founder and CEO Ron Shaich says the chain is moving forward with these changes because they ‘are not scientists.’ He says, ‘We are people who know and love food, and who believe that the journey to better food starts with simpler ingredients.’ ”

Food Navigator also discusses this issue in What do ‘natural’ and ‘clean label’ mean anyway? By Caroline Scott-Thomas+, 18-Jun-2013 “Market researchers tell us that consumers are seeking ‘natural’ products more than ever – and ingredient suppliers have responded by providing ways to ‘clean up’ product labels – but what do these terms really mean?”

This ingredient list for granola includes only "natural" foods.

Currently there is no standard for a clean label. Most consumers want to avoid artificial or overly processed foods, so food manufacturers and eateries are working towards removing those types of ingredients from their products.

Spicy Maple Almonds

with a simple ingredient list.

“Clean label is difficult to define since consumers have different interpretations,” says Cathy Miller, technical applications director, Danisco USA, New Century, KS. “These interpretations differ among demographics, regions and products. Some consumers believe that if a product is natural or organic, then it is a clean label. Others feel that different products are already considered to be more natural or healthier, such as whole-grain bread, yogurt, etc., and they are not as concerned about the label.”

Food Business News has a category: Clean Label, with currently 30 articles that discuss the issue from both perspectives – that of food companies and consumers. “The trend of simplifying ingredient lists has challenged many food and beverage manufacturers. As the clean label trend has evolved, so have efforts to reduce the number of ingredients in many products.”

Note the last ingredient listed above: "unconditional love."

Home-Based Baking at its Best! The good news for home-based bakers: if you’re a scratch home baker, you are probably ahead of this trend!

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Teaching with SweetAmbs

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2015


Last Saturday, Amber and I spent the day with a lovely group of talented cookie artists. It’s always a pleasure to teach with Amber Spiegel. In the morning, Amber taught decorating; and in the afternoon students learned the steps to starting a home-based food business.

As part of Amber's style, there were periodic demos throughout the morning.

In between, students were back at their seats practicing while Amber walked around answering questions and helping with technique.

Initial practice was done on paper

and then on the cookies.

Finished cookies were set on trays to dry. At the end of the day, everyone took home their decorated cookies.

We spent the afternoon reviewing steps for starting a home-based food business. Students came from New York, New Jersey, Florida, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Ohio.

For more info about SweetAmbs and her classes.

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Home-Based Baking at its Best!

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