Are baked goods a good idea for Flea Markets? If so what seems to sell best?
By Debra Williams from Hampton,TN
Selling baked goods are regulated state by state. In my state (Washington) these baked goods have to be made & baked in a state CERTIFIED kitchen (Like a Restaurant or catering kitchen). This is for peoples safety. These kitchens can be rented by the hour. You might be able to get your own kitchen certified, but I doubt it. I sell pottery at a Saturday market each week & all the people who sell baked goods there rent a kitchen. You have to show proof of it to the people who run the fair, the city & the Health Dept.
The biggest & best sellers are cookies (like macaroons & peanut butter cookies) The gal who sells the most items at our fair also makes a multigrain "Breakfast" cookie (it's a very BIG seller!) also popular are less sweet items like banana, zucchini, pumpkin & carrot bread, along with cream cheese swirled brownies, followed by fresh fruit & seasonal berry tarts. At our fair these baked goods are sold for around $1.50 - $3.50 each. This fair as in an upscale part of town (where the rich folks live) so they can charge a bit more. The baker raised her prices last year because her flour & peanut butter tripled in price! She buys in bulk (like big 5 gal buckets of peanut butter!). If her baked goods don't sell, she's in trouble because they won't be fresh the next week!
Pies are always big sellers & who doesn't love either a slice of pie or a whole pie to take home!
At our market, the people who sell out each week are the ones who sell fresh-baked artist-bread. They built their own huge wood-fired bread oven in their back yard then they had the local newspaper do a story about them. These loaves are round (not rectangle) & made only with 100% organic grains which they grind themselves. Some of their bread loaves cost $7 & some are $12! Yikes. But the tiny little $3 loafs sell out first! (but as I said, this fair is in the "upscale" part of town right by Microsoft.
Scones and crapes:
Fresh scones that you'd bake there at the market would sell like crazy! But the people with the longest line at the market were always the guys who made fresh crapes! They sold both sweet crapes like chocolate-peanut butter) or lunch crapes (with spinach with fancy cheeses & mushrooms, etc) These crapes ran from $4 to $7.50 & like I said, the line was always very long! They had 2 propane burners with crape attachments, but a couple of good pans would also work! You'd need at least 1 helper!
Cheap Instant Satisfaction:
We also have a family that sells 3 easy things: Snow-cones (shaved-cones sell when it's hot out & the hot dogs sell all the time! These all cost about $3 or under, this is why they sell out each week. It's because families are always looking for an inexpensive treat.
Do you have a local food (like boiled peanuts) or another type treat that people in your area just love. I so, than that's great another idea.
Kettle Corn is one of the biggest sellers, but the equipment can be very pricy!
There are people who sell fancy jam at my fair. These guys have to have their jam recipe professionally made & canned (also for health regulations). I suggest you check out any regulations (both city, county and state before deciding to sell any food or baked goods!
Anyway, I hope I've given you something to think about. The trick is to not be stuck with lots of left-over food after the fair! ...& in this economy, people want something they can buy for under $2 or $3 at the most! Everyone's looking for a deal, but around here. People appreciate quality (like organic local ingredients) too!
You may have to check with your county or city because some of them have laws that you cannot sell at the farmer's markets without a license. If there is no such law, and there is not in my small town, I have found that cookies sell as well as anything. I have good luck with bars and breads. I think you make the most profit from bars or cookies, since you can get several pieces from a pan.
Are you talking about a flea market - that is inside a building with individual booths and stalls? or a farmers' market which is usually held outside one or two days a week?
If you're talking about the inside flea market, then you will probably need a license and you would definitely want to keep your food near the cash register rather than back in one of the booths.
If you're talking about the outside farmers' market, you might still need a license, but then probably just about anything would sell. When I go to those places I like to buy cookies, muffins, brownies, cakes, pies or breads. Of course I don't always buy something, but if it looks enticing enough, I can't pass it up. I was at a garage sale this week and had to go back so my husband could taste the absolutely wonderful blueberry muffins with oatmeal/brown sugar topping!
The Amish people bring baked cookies, pies, and muffins to the local flea markets with great success. Seasonal drinks are also very successful.This area drinks an average of 2.5 cups of coffee /day, so that's a good bet except for the very hot days when anything cold is good. Best of luck
Blonde brownies, pumpkin bread, banana bread - can't make enough.
There's probably not much I can add to the great suggestions already given here, other than to say that you should make sure you prices are set so you can recoup your ingredient, time, packaging and travel costs.
In addition to the obvious ingredient costs, be sure to consider the more subtle costs such as:
- energy (oven, mixer, etc), labor (your time in making the item),
- consumables (plastic wrap, parchment paper, aluminum foil, etc),
- packaging (plastic bags, cardboard containers, etc),
- display accessories (paper plates, plastic forks, tablecloth, etc),
- transportation (what it cost to obtain everything and get it to where it needs to be) and last but not least,
- the cost of the selling space itself.
Granted, this might seem overwhelming, but break it down and it's easier. Remember that math works its wonders whether or not we like numbers.
Math will gladly multiply profit or compound loss with every piece you sell, so it's well worthwhile to make sure that we have math on our side before we get started.
One tool that helps get math back on your side (i.e., the profitable side) is a recipe cost calculator.
Recipe cost calculators easily handle the complex math and measurement conversions you run into when trying to assess the cost of a recipe.
An example of an online recipe cost-to-bake calculator can be found at http://www.pricingbakedgoods.com