caramel corn close upGourmet popcorn sales have always been profitable, and they are continuing to climb thanks to new twists on the classic crunch. New opportunities for growth are ripe for picking, but you need to make sure you don’t burn out customers before they buy into your sales.

Below are 5 tips to help you spur caramel corn sales without spurning customers.

Don’t Overwhelm—Make ordering appealing and easy. The number of flavors will depend on your location size and traffic; you need enough selections to give your business that unique edge over the competition, but not make bog down transactions. You could start with a limited number of flavors, serving them in a variety of sizes and mix-n-match deals. Then, slowly increase the number, keeping an eye on total sales and wasted products.

Let Them Decide—Customers want the freedom of choice. Give them sweet and complementary savory flavor options. You’ll broaden your appeal, try out new flavors, keep classic caramel or cheese for the “purists,” and can save money.

social-media-iconsShout from the Rooftops—Yes, advertising is key, but be smart about it. Market your business across multiple platforms: website, Facebook, mailers, email blasts, Twitter, Pinterest, etc. But again, don’t overwhelm your followers. Carefully plan any campaigns to get noticed without annoying your loyal crowd or turning off future patrons.

Monitor Social Media Platforms—Take a tip from Big Business’ wins and utter failures. Things can go viral very quickly, and can make or break your business. Requesting feedback, setting up contests, posting photos, or any interaction opens a door that can’t always be easily closed. Be prepared before you post anything. Think about how you will respond to negative and positive feedback – Social Media & Your Popcorn Shop.

Let the People Speak—Get your customers involved. Not only is their feedback valuable, people also feel connected to a business that listens and are more likely to recommend it to their friends. Ask for flavors and additional product suggestions, or what caught their interest.

 

Gourmet Popcorn is the
newest trend of 2013

Popcorn has been the perfect anytime, healthy snack for more than 4,000 years. But now, new flavor sensations are taking over the nation and consumers are craving twists to this whole grain treat. That’s why gourmet popcorn is the 2013 Food Trend, popping up everywhere like: specialty shops, food trucks, weddings, fundraising drives, and restaurants.

NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams recently featured the tasty gourmet popcorn trend, calling the booming business “bursting.”  CBS News had a piece in February, “Popcorn, the snack that saved the movies” and featured Gold Medal equipment popping up profits.

Countless other food industry sources, media outlets, bloggers, and social networking sites have been raving about the rich buttery flavor of classic caramel corn, a premium white cheddar with truffles, raspberry, and gourmet toppings like real gold.

Popcorn, in general, also has appealing health benefits. It’s one of the reasons Publicis Consultants USA and other trend analysis groups called popcorn a 2012 Food Trend. Studies have shown fiber-rich popcorn has higher levels of healthy antioxidants than some fruits and vegetables.

Popcorn is “the perfect snack food,” Joe Vinson, PhD, professor of chemistry at the University of Scranton, said. His study found popcorn is the only snack that is 100% unprocessed whole grain, and the average person only eats about half a serving of whole grains a day.

Before the passion for popcorn reached fever pitch, Americans consumed 16 billion quarts of popcorn each year. Imagine what the records will show now as they re-discover the classic crunch of caramel or cheddar cheese. Or tempt their taste buds with new flavor combinations.

caramel corn close upFew treats are tastier than caramel corn. But “Cracker Jack”-style caramel corn with nuts definitely comes close to rivaling the deliciousness of regular caramel corn. Besides being exceptionally tasty, Cracker Jacks inspires that nostalgic, wistful feeling of being a kid at a baseball game. Satisfy your customers’ sweet tooth, sweet memories, and savory cravings at the same time by simply adding nuts to your caramel corn!

Just how classic is Cracker Jack? The first version was sold at the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893! The recipe was revised in 1896 when a small quantity of oil was added to the mixture – a well-kept trade secret at the time – to keep the popcorn kernels from sticking together. Cracker Jack had become a fixture at baseball games by the turn of the century, and the treat was immortalized in the song “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” in 1908.

To create a classic Cracker Jack-tasting treat, just add 16 ounces of roasted peanuts to every 4-ounce batch of cooked caramel corn. Just about all you’ll need to make it is a peanut roaster, a caramel corn cooker mixer, caramel corn mix, sugar, shortening and water! You might also want to browse our selection of caramel corn merchandisers (all-in-one caramel corn setups), cooling pans/carts, containers, and signage.

In addition to the classic caramel corn-and-peanuts Cracker Jack recipe, you might also experiment with gourmet Cracker Jack recipes that include flavored caramel corn (think chocolate, vanilla, or even English Toffee-flavored popcorn) and/or frosted pralines instead of peanuts. To make gourmet “Cracker Jack,” you’ll probably need some Glaze Pop flavored popcorn flavors and a frosted pralinator machine. Once you have the supplies you need, the possible flavor combinations are endless!

Since “Cracker Jack,” is, of course, a trademarked name, create your own name for your unique nuts-and-popcorn recipe and watch customers line up to ask for your special product!

For more special recipes you can make with your Gold Medal Products Co. products, visit our Tasty New Recipes page. And if you’re not familiar with our products or the caramel corn industry, be sure to check out the tutorials on how to use our equipment located on our official YouTube page and our resource on starting your own caramel corn business.

December 10, 2012

Are you looking for easy ways to increase gourmet popcorn sales? Now it’s easier than ever to expand your appeal and markets.

Everyone wants to feel special and people are more willing to spend money on something that seems “made just for them.” That’s why it pays to tie into the thrill of competition, school pride, holiday cheer, or a local event. Just look at the numbers a survey found for the 2011 Super Bowl. Of the $10.1 billion in expected revenue, team apparel or accessories accounted for 7.3%*.

It’s your turn to cash in with personalized corn in specialty color and flavor combinations. The color only and flavor only Corn Treat mixes help you target and ramp up returning customer spending.

  • Target high school or college athletic departments
  • Put the FUN back in fundraising for schools, non-profits, and religious or service organizations
  • Sell truly unique and memorable wedding favors
  • Create corporate gifts
  • Celebrate the holidays with flavors and colors like Hearts on Fire for Valentine’s Day or Spooky Ooky Corn for Halloween
  • And so much more

The options are endless! Get creative and start branching out now to increase your sales.

* http://www.thedomains.com/2011/01/26/superbowl-to-generate-10-billion-in-spending-but-domain-names-are-not-included/

Starting any new business can raise questions about areas like marketing, sales, placement, business plans, and countless others. Like any investment, it pays to do your homework first, and create a profit-packed plan to guide you through the opening and carry you beyond. Also, talk to the experts who have been there and can help you save time and money. For example, here are some quick marketing tips to get you started.

Marketing is an important factor to consider in your business start up plan. As mentioned before, brochures and promotional materials from other successful retailers can work well as idea starters. Consider enlisting a small ad agency or freelance designer to help you develop your promotional material. This is an investment, but one that can net great returns. A good agency may also be able to help you get a lot of free publicity. Select someone who is as enthusiastic as you are. As far as how much to spend on sales promotion and advertising, this varies, depending upon your initial sales volume. Eventually, it may be 5% to 20% of sales. Another way for you to market your gourmet popcorn shop is to use social media outlets such as Facebook, Twitter, etc. To learn more about how to use social media to promote your popcorn shop, see our article for more details. For more information on marketing your caramel corn or popcorn shop, please fill out our contact us form and type in the comments section that you’re interested in finding out more about how to market your business.

Want more tips? Check out the new caramel corn business startup link for practical advice. http://www.caramel-popcorn.com/new-business.html

With its traditional significance combined with its modern, gourmet incarnations, popcorn has become the perfect treat for every Hallmark holiday.

Christmas: Popcorn is a traditional Christmas tree decoration. Today, tins or bags of caramel corn make great gifts and stocking stuffers, while concession stands can get creative with frosted popcorn mix and festive flavors and colors like red cinnamon popcorn this time of year.

Halloween: Popcorn also has a Halloween tradition as a trick-or-treat giveaway. Caramel corn and kettle corn are fun snacks to enjoy on this sugary holiday – and you might even see bright-orange “nacho cheese” flavored popcorn served in black bags at Halloween carnivals.

Thanksgiving: By some accounts, there was popcorn at the first Thanksgiving. Today, popcorn is incorporated into the Thanksgiving tradition in the form of gourmet popcorn snack baskets and sweet popcorn balls that children can decorate to look like turkeys.

Valentine’s Day: Although sweets have traditionally been more popular Valentine’s Day gifts over savory snacks like popcorn, today’s dessert popcorn can make for a very special treat for your sweetheart – think chocolate caramel corn or pink cherry popcorn.

Teacher’s Day: What better way can you show appreciation to your favorite educator than with a delicious and beautiful popcorn gift? Gourmet snack vendors sell flavored popcorn gift baskets and candy-coated corn treats that are perfect for this occasion.

Mother’s Day: Oftentimes, the only thing moms want for Mother’s Day is a break. A popcorn gift with a variety of decadent flavors like White Cheddar and Pina-Colada can provide the perfect escape mom needs.

Some more holiday popcorn ideas: Green Apple popcorn for St. Patrick’s Day, strawberry popcorn for Sweetest Day, and black cherry popcorn for President’s Day.

As you can see, popcorn is the perfect gift for just about every occasion, and sending a popcorn gift is more thoughtful than just sending a card. Maybe we should just start saying “popcorn holiday” instead of “Hallmark holiday!”

Quality Ingredients

While Americans still love snack foods like popcorn and other concession treats, there’s no doubt that people are more health- and ingredient-conscious these days. For this reason, it’s important that popcorn business owners use top-quality ingredients to make foods like caramel corn, kettle corn and cheese corn — and that they let customers know about it!

For example, some passersby who walk by your popcorn cart may resist the urge to buy your delicious flavored popcorn because they assume it’s unhealthy. However, if you are able to advertise that you offer a reduced-sodium product or a product made with natural ingredients, they might just change their mind.

So that you can offer your customers the quality food products they deserve, all Gold Medal popcorn mixes and seasonings are made with the highest-quality ingredients. Additionally, we provide various healthier and less-artificial options that many customers now demand.

Check out the following quality flavored popcorn ingredients offered by Gold Medal Popcorn:

Cheddar Pure Gold is a gourmet cheese popcorn mix that contains zero trans-fat.

Our Caramel Rich Mix for making kettle corn contains all-natural molasses and brown sugar.

Our new Flavacol RS™ popcorn seasoning has 30% less sodium than our regular Flavacol® seasoning. It also offers 4% of the recommended daily value of dietary fiber!

Our Premier Flavacol® popcorn seasoning contains no artificial colors (i.e., no Yellow #5 or Yellow #6).

In addition to offering healthier and more natural popcorn ingredient options, Gold Medal also provides Kosher and Halal products such as our Kosher Platinum White Cheddar cheese corn mix and our Halal-compliant Glaze Pop sweet flavorings for popcorn. Download Kosher and Halal certificates from our website, gmpopcorn.com.

Crowds of Caramel Corn Fans

Crowds of Caramel Corn Fans

Looking to boost your concession sales of caramel corn and other types of flavored popcorn? Implement the following proven sales and promotional strategies and watch your popcorn profits start popping!

  • Make sure you’re selling your product at a high-traffic location. Some examples of profitable caramel corn locations include downtown areas that get a lot of foot traffic, amusement parks, ball parks, fairs and festivals, tourist attractions, and shopping malls.
  • Entice customers by serving freshly-popped caramel corn/flavored popcorn made right in front of your customers.
  • For any products customers can’t see, include photos on the menu along with prices. In addition to seeing the product being made, photos, signs , and posters are all effective visual triggers to promote impulse buys.
  • Attract the attention of your customers’ taste buds with free samples.
  • Reinforce your brand by putting your logos on your popcorn containers.
  • Make themed mixes for holidays or events, such as Hearts on Fire (Cinnamon) for Valentine’s Day or Spooky Fruit for Halloween. If you’re selling popcorn at a school or university sporting event, make popcorn with the home team’s colors.
  • Customers like choices and variety. Expand your flavored popcorn offerings by including a variety of sweet and savory flavor options, such as White Cheddar, Barbeque, Chocolate Caramel and others.
  • Showcase your product and keep it fresh during off-times using air-tight, take-home containers, displayed near the checkout. These tubs are convenient for customers to bring home and will keep the product fresh for six months.
  • Use coupons, promotions, advertisements on social media sites, etc., to drive traffic.
  • Expand your menu with drinks and additional food products that customers can add to their order.

Need more caramel corn and flavored popcorn sales tips? Contact us to receive sales resources or sign up for a free demo on making and selling caramel corn.

For anyone who operates a concession business or is thinking about starting one, cheese corn is a product that you should definitely consider offering. This fluffy, savory treat has a high profit ratio and is a cinch to make.

Essentially, this money-making treat is just popcorn, combined with a delicious cheese mix. But as simple and inexpensive as it is to make, customers love it and will pay a premium for it – the product practically sells itself. Moreover, there are a variety of different seasoning options you can use to make cheese corn even more appealing, offering customers a number of “gourmet” options to choose from.

To get you started, Gold Medal offers the following high-quality mixes to make cheese corn: trans-fat-free Cheddar Pure Gold, great-tasting Cheddar Classic, and gourmet and Kosher Platinum White Cheddar.

We also sell mouth-watering seasonings, such as our spicy Alarm Blazen hot flavor additive, which allows you to make “red-hot” cheese corn for your spicy food-loving patrons. Customers also go wild for our Shake-On Savory Flavors, which include Pizza, Bacon & Cheese, Cheddar Cheese, Nacho Cheese, Creamy Dill, Salsa Verde, Barbeque, Hot & Spicy, Pepper Pop, Hot Jalapeno, White Cheddar Cheese, Ranch, Cajun and Honey Mustard.

Besides popcorn and seasonings, the only major item you need to make cheese corn is a machine. To this end, we offer the 8-gallon capacity Cheese Tumbler/Coater; the 2.5-gallon Mini Tumbler, perfect for bars, restaurants and patio hotspots; the 5-gallon Cheddar Easy Mixer; the Cheddar Easy Shop, a complete countertop mixer/display case; and the Flav-R-Tater Tumbler, which makes making savory popcorn a snap.

Not only do we offer the ingredients and equipment to make cheese corn, we also provide the cheese corn business expertise, backed by our 80+ years of experience in the industry. We provide easy-to-follow recommendations, tips on building a menu with profitable add-ons, and even personalized consultations. For more information on selling cheese corn, visit our website.

 

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