Plastics are finding a new business in one of the hottest food trends in the U.S. the cupcake.
Cupcakes have been moving out of the elementary school classroom and into wider acceptance during the past few years. Researchers at London-based Mintel International Group Ltd. estimate that cupcakes make up a $1 billion retail business in the U.S. Mintel's April 2009 study of retail cakes and pies showed the cupcake and brownies business was worth an estimated $1.02 billion in 2009.
While the overall cakes and pies retail business is expected to stay relatively flat during the next three years worth about $6 billion, though sales may drop slightly to $5.9 billion in 2013 the cupcakes and brownies end of the business is forecast to grow by about 4 percent annually each year between 2010 and 2013.
With that kind of activity in retail shops, home bakers are expected to try their own hand at cupcakes. Most of the products aimed at cupcake makers, however, have been metal, silicone and paper used during baking.
Browne & Co. Ltd. is looking to change that, though, with a set of plastic tools through its Cuisipro brand. The products are used not in baking cupcakes, but decorating them.
Everybody is writing about cupcakes, said Peter Braley, chief operating officer at Browne & Co., during the introduction of Cuisipro's cupcake corer and decorating set at the International Home and Housewares Show. There are blogs and new shops opening every day. People are making a living selling cupcakes and not just cupcakes, but high-end cupcakes, he said at the March 14-16 event in Chicago.
The cupcake-decorating set consists of a polypropylene corer designed to hollow out a space in the cupcake to place fruit, candy, extra flavors or frosting plus two PP and polyester squeeze bottles with decorating tips to apply frosting, and a narrow steel spatula with an ABS handle.
While the tools are intended for the home baker, Pam Rose, a partner of Chicago cupcake store Swirlz Cupcakes, said the company uses the corer for high-volume orders, such as a 600-piece order just in the past week. Rose and Swirlz head pastry chef Jerry Korab were at the show for a demonstration.
People see these innovative products at the store, and some of them will go right home and make their own, just like they saw, said Rose, a partner at Swirlz.
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