Undergraduate Program
Client Project Challenge
Mixed Bag Optimization for Ferrara Candy Company

Ferrara Candy company is one of the US industry leaders in confections with a focus on non-chocolate gummy and seasonal candies. The candy company currently has over 100 different mixed bag compositions for Halloween alone, all of which are designed by the marketing team. The marketing team specifies a minimum weight and piece count requirement for the bag which is declared to the FDA and displayed on the bag itself. However, production fills bags using weight only; piece count is not taken into consideration. Bags are overfilled to ensure that the minimum piece count requirement is satisfied for each bag.  This candy overfill thus creates significant unanticipated costs for Ferrara.

We proposed a modified marketing tool that suggests mixed bag compositions based on inputs of desired candy components, along with minimum weight and piece count requirements. This tool would allow the design of themed mixed bags while minimizing cost.  This least-cost composition would take into account the weight variability of each component to ensure minimum piece count requirements are met. This would eliminate the need to overfill the mixed bag, resulting in at least a 5% decrease in cost for the mixed bags. An extension of this tool requires only the number of desired components (instead of specific suggestions), suggesting the least cost composition of products from the Ferrara candy catalog.  This flexibility in mixed bag assortments, again preventing the need for overfill, could result in a 60% decrease in cost for the mixed bags.

A full report on this project is available by request to

Team Members: Aida Baimenova, Elliot Chow, Benjamin Posner & Danae Vassiliadis

Advisor:  Prof. Derek Nelson