Millions of people leave the office every lunch time and visit a local supermarket, cafe or coffee shop. There, you can buy savoury products, hot and cold drinks and sweet treats for afters. Sweet products are most commonly bought by people experiencing a bad day. For pudding or as a treat with coffee; the muffin is a popular choice. They can be eaten with little mess and come in a variety of flavours so everyone can find one they like.
New recipes and different designs now mean that the humble muffin has developed into a gourmet item. The expansion of gourmet coffee shops like Starbucks has led to this in part. Luxury ingredients like Belgian chocolate chips and the freshest fruits are used so that even discerning eaters are tempted to nibble on the top of a muffin.
Sweet treats are no longer just for those who aren’t on a diet, now people watching their weight can indulge in a ‘skinny muffin’ of lemon, blueberry and many other flavours. The skinny muffin benefits all because dieters have something tasty and healthy to eat whilst the shops retain customers.
There has also been a revolution in the shape of muffins and this has had an impact on consumer attitude towards muffins. When first sold in coffee houses and shops, muffins were relatively small and evenly shaped. Then, the top of the muffin became the most prized section and manufacturers began to bake them so that the top was larger than the bottom. This is how we now use the term ‘muffin top’ to describe when tight trousers create a bulge over the top of them.
In the past year or so however there is a new shape known as tulip or flower-pot. The new shape is a little smaller than the large-topped muffins, this is because people are more health conscious and are less likely than before to eat a huge portion of muffin. The name flower-pot comes from the fine paper that surrounds the bottom of the muffin.
Coffee stores and shops can make a lot of money from having muffins on their shelves as can pubs where customers like the sweet alternative to crisps and pork scratchings.