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2 Major Bulk Bin Options for Dispensing Candy & Other Sweet Treats

Whether you're opening a new candy store or looking to add a section for sweet treats to an existing retail environment, storing and dispensing bulk candy will be one of the top challenges you'll need to resolve. Here are the pros and cons of two types of bulk food containers to help you decide which option works best for your circumstances.

Gravity Dispensers

This type of container uses gravity to help dispense the product. The candy is loaded at the top of the bin. At the bottom, there is typically a lever the person pushes whenever he or she wants to dispense some of the product. Most dispensers have levers that automatically snap back in place, but there are a few that require the person to manually return the handle to its original position to stop the flow.

Gravity dispensers are very popular for a number of reasons. First, this type of storage container makes it very easy to rotate stock. Fresher product goes in the top while the older stuff is dispensed at the bottom. This helps maintain freshness by preventing older stock from being accidentally or purposefully overlooked.

Another benefit of gravity dispensers is they promote good sanitation. Customers only come in contact with the product that is dispensed from the container, which minimizes the risk of them introducing contaminants such as germs or allergens like peanuts into the stock. Customers who are normally squeamish about buying bulk food because of the possibility of other customers touching the product may be more comfortable with getting it from these types of containers.

While there are many good things about gravity dispensers, these bins have some disadvantages as well. If customers accidentally get more product than they want, they can't return the unwanted portion to the container. This may lead to increased waste.

Another problem is the candy may get stuck in the container, creating a bottleneck that must manually be cleared in order to get the product flowing again. This is a particular concern with sticky treats like gummy bears or peanut brittle. This may result in a loss of sales depending on whether or not employees catch the problem in time.

All in all, though, gravity dispensers are a good option for selling small unwrapped candy such as jelly beans.

Scoop Bins

These are the traditional storage bins where you open the lid and use a scoop or tongs to get the candy out. This type of dispenser lets customers get exactly as much candy as they want without risking accidentally getting too much because they couldn't close the gravity lever in time. This, in turn, may help improve customer satisfaction and reduce waste.

Because of their simple designs, you can typically get scoop bins in a wider range of sizes than gravity bins. For instance, you can often find barrel-sized containers that let you store massive amounts of loose candy, which is a good option for housing popular treats that sell quickly.

Scoop bins are also better for candy that may not work well in gravity bins because of their large size, unusual shape, or other incompatible features. For instance, giant jawbreakers may make it difficult to push through the opening of a gravity dispenser. However, they can easily be scooped out of an open bin.

At the same time, though, the open nature of scoop bins does make them less sanitary. People may use their hands rather than the available scoops to get the product, forcing you to dump the entire bin to avoid spreading disease. Additionally, it's much easier for cross contamination to occur. For instance, candy from a dispenser sitting above the open bin may fall into it if the lid is open while the customer is dispensing the product.

It may also be more challenging to rotate stock because there often is only one opening on scoop bins. However, there are some scoop bins that do incorporate a gravity-bin design where product is loaded at the top and scooped out of an opening on the bottom. Like regular gravity bins, however, these hybrids may only be available in limited sizes.

For more information about the best type of bulk bins for your candy store, contact a dealer in your area who specializes in selling them.