Category Advice: Pick and Mix
Throughout the UK, shoppers love to choose pick and mix sweets. It’s no longer a trend, pick and mix is here to stay. Whether your business is small or large, we give you some thoughts on how to make the most of this very important confectionery category.
The good thing about pick and mix sweets is that the range to choose from is enormous and any selection can be fine-tuned to cater for any style at all such as kids, adults, a traditional theme or even a colour co-ordinated selection. So whatever your own target audience, pick and mix can fit the bill perfectly.
A further advantage to pick and mix (or weighout) sweets is the flexibility in how you are able to retail them. Whilst some businesses might prefer the prominence of a pick and mix stand, allowing shoppers to select their own mix (into a weighed bag or a priced cup), others will stick to traditionally serving customers from a colourful display of sweet jars. Other options include packing up smaller amounts of sweets (single varieties or your own special mix) into bags or containers, ready to sell as retail units. Containers are certainly a handy option for those on the move or for sharing with friends, colleagues or family.
With all of these options, you can be forgiven for not knowing where to start! There is no “how to” that suits all businesses but we can certainly help you to develop a plan for your own business.
Do your research
Here are some questions to initially ask yourself:
- How much space do I have for pick and mix?
- What type of customer will buy pick and mix from me? How and where will they consume it?
- Do I want to allow my customers to choose their own and will I be able to keep the display clean, full and tidy?
- Have I got some scales or should I avoid weighed options?
- Do I know enough about the sweets that I could retail?
Think about your location too. There are some factors that can clearly have an impact on how you might do best with pick and mix sweets. For example: a school or college within walking distance, a sizeable office block nearby, a cinema within walking distance or even a busy bus stop outside. Of course if you are in a holiday area, this is another key factor to take into account.
We’d highlight one other thing to research prior to making your first steps. What are your competition up to? Do the leg work and if you can, watch the displays at different times of day or week to see how they are being shopped. Also become aware of pricing in the immediate area.
Dip your toe in
The great thing about retailing is that it’s easy to try something out and get some real time feedback. This is especially true with confectionery as you can try a little bit of something first and build from there. Of course, some might be bolder and determine that a prominent display from the start will have a greater sales impact. But you do have the choice.
Whether you decide you start with our pick and mix sweets stand or a selection of filled jars on a single shelf, choosing initially from the best sellers will give you a head start. What sells can vary by store and shopper profile but as a rule, there are some must-stocks and these include:
- Jelly Beans
- Bon Bons (Sour Blue Raspberry and Strawberry)
- Wine Gums
- Cola Bottles
- ABC Letters
- Jelly Babies
- Sour Dummies
- Liquorice Allsorts
- Snowies and Jazzies
- Dolly Mixture
- Rosey Apples
If you’re unsure of where your range should start, come and talk to us as we’ve been wholesaling many hundreds of pick and mix sweets since 1962 so we’ll certainly be able to help you. We can advise you on trends within the range and any particular localised opportunities. At the moment, fizzy and sour sweets maintain endless enthusiasm and we continue to develop new ideas to try.
What price is best?
Retailing pick and mix sweets takes a bit more effort than other confectionery categories but it certainly pays off. Margins in excess of 50% are easily achievable and more in certain cases. We recommend a retail price of 85p per 100g but this can vary depending on your local competition. Furthermore, if you are pre-packing a selection of smaller bags or containers, you might prefer a fixed unit price.
When choosing your range, we know that many retailers select products that allow them to achieve a certain percentage margin for above. So for example, you might only stock sweets that allow you to make 50% or more. As most of our bulk sweets are sold in 2 or 3kg bags or boxes, we show the cost price per 100g for all of our pick and mix sweets to allow you to do this with ease.
Kingsway is the Hancocks brand of sweets and you will see much to choose from in the weighout sweets aisle. Choosing Kingsway can really help you to maximise your margin whilst being confident of offering a good quality sweet at a great price. Our Kingsway brand is developed for us by many of the leading confectionery manufacturers.
Mixing it up
A pick and mix display should never be static. Where confectionery is concerned, shoppers like change and new ideas can truly refresh your sales. Seasonality and events are key to this, so for example, we can offer you a myriad of heart shaped pick and mix sweets for Valentine’s Day whereas our bulk Mini Eggs become a top seller over the spring season. Fun summer sweets are available in bulk bags whilst there is nothing better than popping some Dracula Teeth into your pick and mix in the run up to Halloween!
Enthusiasm is contagious!
The more proactive you are with your pick and mix display, the more interested and enthusiastic your own customers will become. Talk to them about new sweets that you are stocking and ask them to tell you if there is anything they’d like you to try and find. You could even sample some sweets, even if it is selective by offering customers the chance to try a new sweet from a jar. If you have a few members of staff, you could make one of them an ambassador for pick and mix! Allow them to champion the category and keep an eye on the display. They could also research new ideas, though the easiest way to do that is to take a trip to Hancocks or browse our range online. We know that pick and mix sweets sell and we know that they are profitable, so let us help you to ensure that they are an asset to your business.