The Gourmet-Cupcake Market Is Crashing

The icing is coming off America’s cupcake craze.

The dessert became a cultural and economic phenomenon over the last decade, with gourmet cupcake shops proliferating across the country, selling increasingly elaborate and expensive concoctions.

The craze hit a high mark in June 2011, when Crumbs Bake Shop Inc., a New York-based chain, debuted on the Nasdaq Stock Market NDAQ -1.19% under the ticker symbol CRMB. Its creations—4″ tall, with fillings such as vanilla custard, caps of butter cream cheese, and decorative flourishes like a whole cookie—can cost $4.50 each.

After trading at more than $13 a share in mid-2011, Crumbs has sunk to $1.70. It dropped 34% last Friday, in the wake of Crumbs saying that sales for the full year would be down by 22% from earlier projections, and the stock slipped further this week.

As a business, making cupcakes has a relatively low barrier to entry and the field has become saturated with competitors, including individual bakeries, chains and grocery stores. Gigi’s Cupcakes USA, based in Nashville, Tenn., has opened 85 stores in 23 states since 2008 through its franchising system.

Crumbs rivals include people like Cynthia Hankerson, owner of the three-year-old Cupcake Salon in Jersey City, N.J. Sales at her bakery cafe are slipping and she said she suspects the cupcake fad may be waning. Last year, a typical Saturday brought in an average of $600 to $700 in sales for her signature cupcakes, which come in flavors like pistachio, amaretto vanilla and strawberry banana. But now “we’re lucky if we get $300,” she says. “People get tired of things,” the 42-year-old adds.

Even so, at least two other specialty cupcake businesses have opened up in her area within the past year, selling cupcakes at higher prices. “It’s very competitive,” she says.

Source: WSJ

Anytime Workout

The Balance Challenge That Will Also Relax Your Neck Muscles

  1. Lift your right foot off the ground.
  2. Once the leg is lifted, rotate your head slowly , side to side, as if you were looking both ways. Lower the leg and repeat five times, then switch legs.

Source: The Globe and Mail

What’s for Lunch?

Italian Four-course Lunch

The Menu

Carrot Soup

Vegetable Salad

Spaghetti with Clams

Dessert

Walnut Consumption Is Associated with Lower Risk of Type 2 Diabetes in Women

Eating walnuts may reduce the risk for Type 2 diabetes in women, a large new study concludes.

Previous studies have suggested an inverse relationship between tree nut consumption and diabetes. Though the findings are correlational, walnuts are uniquely high in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, which may be of particular value in Type 2 diabetes prevention.

The scientists, writing in the April issue of The Journal of Nutrition, used dietary and health data on 138,000 women participating in a large continuing study of women’s health. Beginning in 1999 they collected data on walnut consumption, and followed the women for the next 10 years. They found 5,930 cases of Type 2 diabetes.

Women who ate walnuts tended to weigh less, consume more fish and exercise more than those who did not. But researchers controlled for these and many other factors, and found that compared with women who ate no walnuts, those who consumed 8 ounces of walnuts or more a month reduced their risk for Type 2 diabetes by 24 percent.

“There’s been a lot of research on nuts in general in relation to cardiovascular health,” said the senior author, Dr. Frank B. Hu, a professor of medicine at Harvard. “This is the first on walnuts and diabetes. Walnuts may have some unique benefits.”

Source: The Journal of Nutrition

Mediterranean Rice Dish

Ingredients

12 oz mixed seafood, such as raw shrimp, mussels, squid rings or clams
4 tbsp sunflower oil
1 onion, chopped
2 gloves garlic, crushed
1 cup Arborio rice
1/2 cup white wine
6½ cups hot fish stock
grated rind of 1/2 lemon
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
salt and ground black pepper

Method

  1. Heat oil in a heavy-base pan, add onion and garlic and cook until soft. Add rice and stir to coat the grains with oil. Add wine and cook over medium heat, stirring, for a few minutes until absorbed.
  2. Add 2/3 cup of fish stock and cook, stirring constantly, until the liquid is absorbed by the rice. Continue stirring and adding stock in 2/3 cup quantities, until half of the stock is left.
  3. Stir in seafood and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Add remaining stock as before until the rice is cooked and al dente.
  4. Mix in lemon rind, tomato paste and parsley. Season with slat and pepper and serve warm.

Source: Style Manitoba

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