The Demise of Cupcakes


We’ve all seen how cupcakes have become extremely popular over the last ten years. Interestingly though, and at an even faster pace than cupcake’s own rise, the idea of their own demise seems to be sweeping the nation at a blistering pace. Locally, the fact that Icing On The Cupcake (a Sacramento based cupcake business) closed all their locations literally overnight last month is a great example of the muffin inspired, frosting topped pastry’s exit from the baking world.

While the baking world may agree with that top paragraph, I have a different opinion about our little cupcake friend, and it has nothing to do with the idea of a cupcake. Instead I believe the cupcake has been a victim of bad marketing and over saturation.

Firstly, the fact that cupcakes are never offered gluten-free, all-natural, vegan, sugarless, etc. will eventually lead to the true demise of cupcakes (keep in mind that the gluten-free market is the fastest growing market in the food industry). Cupcakes have notoriously been associated with the worst of worst baked goods and with the quickly changing food industry focused around the consumer’s interests in fresh and natural ingredients, if cupcakes themselves do not follow the same evolution the industry is following, no matter their current popularity or not, the product will eventually die off on its own.

Secondly, and probably most importantly, the cupcake makers themselves are to blame for the dying of cupcakes. Think about it this way. If every legitimate bakery out there decided to only offer one product (for fun lets just say sugar cookies), there would be a huge surge in the sales of sugar cookies. But just as absurd as the idea of bakeries only selling sugar cookies sounds, to me, the idea of businesses only selling cupcakes seems just as ridiculous. Sure, the hypothetical sugar cookie scenario may draw lots of immediate attention; but over the years people will look for diversity. This is applicable in every consumer buying market and definitely not limited to the baking world. Jumping back to my previous point quickly. If a business limits itself to a single product (cupcakes), then its understandable that product must be extremely unique in quality, tastes, price, etc. But if cupcakes continue to be offered in stagnant and routine versions, why couldn’t a full scale bakery offer cupcakes as a supplement to their large menu and beat out the “specialized” cupcake shop world?

It’s not that cupcakes themselves are dying off. More, it’s the fact that for a brief time in consumer history cupcakes we’re the talk of the bakery world. That notoriety itself is not negative, instead, its that companies thought they could capitalize on this new trend and get away with offering an EXTREMELY limited menu, in this case being just a menu full of cupcakes. From a business standpoint this sounds more far fetched than a bakery only offering all-natural gluten and dairy-free products, doesn’t it? And that’s what we do! But at least with our business model and target market we can offer 30 different products each day and only 5 % of that menu is made up of cupcakes.

It’s not that cupcakes themselves are dying off; instead it’s the false idea that businesses can survive on only offering cupcakes.

Consumers eat cupcakes in moderations, why shouldn’t businesses follow the same moderation guidelines?

Long live the cupcakes!

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