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The Devilish Compact

We've had an interesting email from a potential customer regarding the cost of delivering our Classic format slices through the post. My response reinforces something we often say to people in person when they visit us at a food show so I thought it might be something everyone else would like to hear.

From time to time, we receive feedback here at the BB offices regarding our product ("Oh. My. GOD. That is the best thing I have ever had in my mouth."), our presentation ("It is so professional and consistent - it's really hard to believe you do this as a sideline from your day job!") and the services we provide ("I can't think of a better gift than a box of Compact dropping through somebody's letter box.")

 

A recent email highlighted the high postage cost as a ratio of the basic cost of the product, when we mail out boxes of Classic slices. A customer, wanting to support us and order our product frequently, but deterred by a £5 charge for a box of six slices already costing £6, £7 or £8. We realised that we had already provided the answer - see our response below:

 

"Thanks ever so much for your detailed and thoughtful query.

 

The cost of postage for our Classic slices has been of concern to us since the inception of Buffalo Brownies in 2011. The major factor in that cost is the density and therefore the weight of the brownie product itself which brings the raw cost of using the Royal Mail's first class service to a minimum of £3 per pack of 6 slices (onto which we add our packaging and overhead costs). When you work this £5 levy out, as you have done, as a proportion of the cost of the product itself, the ratio is indeed unfavourable. We ordinarily sell the Classic version of our flavours as a shelf-ready and/or direct sales product which means that postal charges do not matter; we further offer the Classic slices as part of our postal service for a number of reasons, largely relating to gift-giving, but also for some exceedingly popular products such as Goldrush which only come in Classic format. Some customers demand this format so we provide it at this premium however, for our online service, the proportion of sales in this format is very low.

 

Having been customers ourselves, in the past, of online vendors of brownies, we recognised that the size and shape of this product - without modification - would always imply this level of postal cost so from the outset sought to provide a more affordable alternative: the Compact version. This not only achieves a sub-33% of product cost but, in fact, brings the postal costs down to 0% of product cost as we have designed a bespoke carton which fits into the Large Letter (rather than Small Parcel) format, thereby allowing us to absorb all postage and packing costs and offering the 6 slices for between £6-£8. This price therefore includes free delivery to any location in the United Kingdom which, I hope you would find, is far less prohibitive a cost. This Compact format, obviously, as the name implies, has required us to modify the size and shape of the slices to fit the constraints of the packaging, so the slices in this case are wider but less tall, however the recipe used for each flavour is identical so the product is, essentially, identical other than in the height to which it is baked and the sizing of its cut.

 

On the subject of shelf life (as a factor in cost-effectiveness): it is unlikely we are going to change the formulation of our products to artifically extend shelf life, as we trust most customers would agree is the preferable strategy. For our brownie range, I would say that the 10 day shelf life published is conservative and - particularly for the ultra-dark flavours made using 80% cocoa solids chocolate - in many cases the product is perfectly acceptable in taste, texture and quality for beyond 3 weeks after production. Further, all flavours can be frozen, upon receipt, for up to 6 months if a customer wishes to extend the availability of the product they have bought beyond the stated shelf life. Freezing also serves as an excuse to reheat a slice and serve it with ice-cream.

 

I hope the knowledge of our Compact version addresses the major part of your concerns about the cost-effectiveness of Buffalo Brownies' mail-order service. It has been a unique selling point since we launched the website in August 2011 which, coupled to the quality, flavour and texture of product and the range of flavours we provide, makes for what we believe to be an unbeatable offering in the market."

 

 

Let us know if you have had similar concerns and if you agree with our approach, for the postal charges and also for the matter of shelf life. We truly believe that our Compact slices offer the most cost-effective way of getting traybaked cake through the post - the fact that they are entirely and overwhelmingly delicious is the icing on the... erm... well, cake, I guess. :-)

Buffalo Explorers

  • This just looks incredible!

    It's so professional, like the best thing you'd ever get in the post ever! I love it.

    Lydia, London

    August 2011

  • Sheer heaven

    These brownies are sheer heaven can honestly say they're are the best. Thank goodness they're local and deliver too 

    Angela, Derbyshire

    July 2014

  • The joy of Clementine

    I’ve just tried a box of Clementine……….6 slabs of pure orangey joy. I suggest you do too before the Government slap a tax on deliciousness.

    Jim, Staffordshire

    April 2012

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