Bake Sale Packaging
You may have read my review of bake sale packaging ideas in SmartyGirlReviews’ “Bake Sale Tips and Tricks”.
Tonight is rehearsal night for my bake sale packaging for next Saturday, June 2nd.
I’ve decided to experiment using my business school training since the scenario is low-risk, medium-reward. To keep the rust off the gears, I combine some of my business training when I bake for a cause. This post takes the form of problem identification, analysis, recommendation and contingency plans.
|Photo Credit: Renee Marchol Apple Muffin Batter|
My fellow MBA, my hubby, played my taste-tester.
What do I mean by packaging concerns for bake sales? After doing research on the most successful versus the most popular way to display baked goods for a charity bake sale, I’ve come up with the following conclusions about consumer tastes for Summer 2012:
- Parents have valid concerns about lower-sugar alternatives for kids’ desserts
- Many school-aged children have allergies to wheat, eggs and dairy
- More families are seeking organic baked goods and vegan options
- Many parents agree with Michelle Obama’s campaign against childhood obesity and limit their attendance at bake sales
- 95% of bake sale packaging is “traditionally girly” rather than gender neutral or “boyish”
|Photo Credit: Renee Marchol Boy Scrapbook Paper from Joann’s|
For the demographic in Santa Monica and the specific target at the bake sale hosted by Cornerstone West LA Church, I would have the competitive advantage if I paid more attention to the three main marketing themes: gender neutral decor, “boyish” masculine marketing and “natural ingredients”.
For instance, I’ve decided against the cupcake trend of 5 years ago of polka dot ribbons and white cupcake boxes that deter male consumers. The purpose of this charity event is to raise money for an intrepid co-ed youth trip to Guam for the summer. My hypothesis is that customers who come to this event already have the gritty-adventure mindset and want stand out items during bidding.
|Photo Credit: Renee Marchol Space Invaders “boyish” paper decoration|
Many of the participants are junior high and high school boys. It is unlikely that they’ve seen a bake sale booth tailored towards single dads and sons. Mothers might also take interest in the monsters, space, sea creatures, robots and Western hats in the decor for their sons and daughters who have gender-neutral interests such as science, adventure, exploration and history.
However, during the test run I noticed the following challenge:
|Photo Credit: Renee Marchol’s “Muffin top” red-velvet cupcakes|
|Photo Credit: Renee Marchol Cupcake Frosting Smear|
|Photo Credit: Renee Marchol Red Velvet Cupcake with Muffin Top Problem|
Problem: smeared frosting. The diameter of the “muffin top” or cupcake top is wider than the protective clear cup.
|Photo Credit: Renee Marchol Floating Cupcake Packaging Problem|
As a result, the frosting smears on the cellophane bag when it is packaged. This fit problem also causes a second appearance problem: the floating/suspended cupcake.
a) Use mini muffin/mini cupcakes.
b) Guard from frosting smear with decorative corrugated cardboard instead of the clear cup.
c) Disregard the cupcake diameter, peel off the cupcake liner and package the treat with a clear plastic spoon. No cellophane bag at all. Serve desserts like shots.
d) Decrease the amount of batter per cupcake by 50%.
I recommend Option C and Option D because I cannot afford to buy a mini muffin pan that I am unlikely to ever use again. My second reason is that my masculine theme as opposed to “dainty” marketing theme forbids mini-anything. My final reason is that cellophane is optional rather than mandatory.
Here are some of the drawbacks of Option C.
- Unshielded, open dessert containers can be mistaken for free samples.
- Open desserts are not portable so this limits customers for buying more than they can eat on-site.
I suggest option d because some say a frosting-free muffin is just an ugly cousin of the pretty cupcake. If I reduce the diameter of the “muffin top” or cupcake top, I can use the existing supplies for packaging.
Here are some of the drawbacks of Option D.
- Though not dainty, the enclosed cupcake will be less than average size.
|Photo Credit: Renee Marchol’s 50% less batter red velvet cupcakes|
- It may be perceived by the consumer as a miserly portion.
For portability I decided option d for my red-velvet cupcakes. Also I can choose to label these reduced sized but not mini-cupcakes as “lunchbox-sized” just as Ralph’s advertises their smaller than medium green apples.
|Photo Credit: Renee Marchol Gluten-free Almond Cookies|
|Photo Credit: Renee Marchol Beignets|
Note: After the taste-test, my batch of red-velvet cupcakes were only fair as opposed to good. This experiment was excellent and useful for packaging practice. It revealed that I do not know how to make red velvet cupcakes look more boyish and I don’t make red velvet cupcakes with the right texture.Thankfully, cake ball tutorials can be found on Pinterest. I plan to use the cake fail for cake balls! No waste!
However, I will stick to my baked good strengths such as beignet donuts, chocolate chip cookies, sour cream icing cinnamon rolls and gluten-free almond cookies. I will label vegan, low-sugar and organic when it’s appropriate.
Happy Bake Sale Analysis!