"Where should I spend my money when starting up a gummy operation for the first time?"
I get some version of this question ALL the time.
Should you spend money on everything? Make a massive investment and hope it all pays off?
Or spend a leaner amount of money and build on that as you go?
Or do you fall somewhere in the middle?
The truth is: it depends on what you're talking about.
When you’re just setting up your gummy making operation, there are certain items where You Get What You Pay For. It's better to invest once and never look back.
And there are items where Good Enough is Good Enough. Basically, you can get away with cheaper stuff in the beginning.
And still other items that are more Middle of the Road, and come down to your preference, amount of start-up capital, and ideal growth path.
So let's talk about what those things are and why you should invest whatever amount of money should be allocated into those distinct categories.
1. You Get What You Pay For Items
The first no-comprises item you want to spend money on is your gummy recipe.
It is the basis for everything.
It doesn't matter how much stainless steel you have, how nice your facility is, or how well designed your molds are – none of that matters if the recipe isn’t there.
The bottom line is this: most operations fail at recipe.
So if you get your recipe right -- You're immediately ahead of the game.
The second item in this category is high-quality candy molds.
Molds determine all sorts of parameters of your product and workflow. This includes the aesthetics of the gummy, how quickly they set, and how quickly they can be demolded.
Failure to invest in the right mold system costs you time. Bad molds are the #1 bottleneck for gummy operations across the country.
Lock in high quality molds out of the gate, and the rest of your process will be smooth.
On this blog, check out our comprehensive breakdown on what makes platinum silicone molds the right choice for your candy operation.
The third thing you want to make sure you invest in is good meters.
Meters help you determine critical control points in your cooking, depositing, and curing workflows.
You need to make sure that you can trust those meters, because if you're second guessing them the whole process gets infinitely more complicated.
Don’t skimp here and risk inaccurate readings. That’s how whole batches get ruined.
Read our blog post on crucial meters for your gummy business for additional context.
2. Middle of the Road Items
Let’s move on to that category of investment priorities where you can play it either way.
The first thing that falls in this category is cookers.
Surprised? Understandable: we are building out a kitchen, after all.
You’d think choice of cookers would be crucial to the operation.
And you’d be right!
But the thing is, the less expensive options in this space are actually quite robust, and sufficient for gummy operations just getting started, even at higher production volumes.
So when we talk about good cookers– but not necessarily ones we want to throw a ton of money at upfront– I typically point people to high quality hot plates like the Control Freak.
It’s true that it is not quite as nice to work with as a really high end kettle.
But it will do a lot of the work and it's about a tenth of the cost. That math makes sense in the early going.
Depositors (“Gummy Machines”)
Depositor systems are also a Middle of the Road item.
There are definitely benefits to using depositors, but they're not absolutely necessary in every scenario.
This becomes especially clear when you consider that Flood & Scrape is so effective.
(Note: Flood & Scrape is a hand-depositing method which you can see our clients using on our Instagram feed)
See our articles on the proper set up for Flood & Scrape for more information.
3. Good Enough is Good Enough Items
Now let's talk about some of the things where you truly don't have to spend a lot of money
A lot of this category is comprised of miscellaneous kitchen equipment.
Things like speed racks, baking trays, and stainless steel bowls. Don’t break the bank on these items.
Stainless steel tables are a bit of an exception. Quality matters with your tables especially if you're flood & scraping.
Basically, you want to have a firm surface with when you're doing your flood & scrape, so you don't get any bowing.
Strictly speaking, refrigeration is not truly necessary for starchless gummy operations.
But it is worth knowing that if this is part of your envisioned buildout, you can get decent refrigeration for relatively low cost.
No need to splurge here, as the floor for this technology sets a perfectly adequate standard.
Dehumidifiers are crucial for regulating the RH of your kitchen.
Thankfully, these absolute necessities don’t have to cost an arm and a leg.
You can get definitely get pricey industrial units with more bells and whistles, to be sure.
But as long as you don't have a truly massive space, regular consumer grade dehumidifiers will do the job.
Starting a gummy business can be a rewarding venture, so it’s important to make smart investment choices from the jump in order to set yourself on the right trajectory.
With careful planning and a focus on the long-term, you can turn your gummy business into a sweet and sustainable success.