Friday, September 5, 2008

The Cupcake Craze

The N.Y. Times' Jennifer Lee wonders whether the cupcake craze can last much longer. She writes:

New York City may well be the cupcake capital of America. Magnolia Bakery of Greenwich Village has produced a list of progeny very Old Testament in length: Magnolia begat Billy’s and Buttercup, and Buttercup in turn begat Sugar Sweet Sunshine.

... Many of the cupcake shops have started to clone themselves. Magnolia opened a second spot on the Upper West Side in addition to its Village location. It plans a third store in Rockefeller Center this month.

... But Crumbs, which started in 2003 with a single store on the Upper West Side, is expanding more aggressively, with 40 planned stores over the next year and 150 within the next five years.

... This kind of growth brings to mind the tale of Krispy Kreme, another sweet phenomenon that went national very fast. ... Krispy Kreme quickly came down to earth, through dilution of the brand and mismanagement.

... Even now, the cupcake appears to be at a tipping point. There are signs of a cupcake backlash — both from schools concerned about childhood obesity and from foodies who can only maintain nostalgia for so long.

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