Playing favorites with food creates new products, new markets

Edge Brownie Pan

When you bake a batch of brownies, which piece do you reach for first? A fudgier center piece of a chewier corner? Some people may like both parts of the brownie equally, but others have such a strong preference for specific parts of the food that they eat that they’ve inspired an industry of people who can deliver just those parts. The Wall Street Journal recently took a look at just some of the specialty products that are out there helping people get exactly what they want to eat.

One good example is the Baker’s Edge Brownie Pan, a nonstick pan with a maze-like design that turns every piece of a batch of brownies (or other bar cookie) into a chewy edge piece. This pan caters to edge-lovers and millions of dollars’ worth have been sold since the company started in 2006.

Another is a yet-to-be-released product that is designed to help people scoop out the centers of their bagels easily. The spoon-like product cuts through the dough of the bagel easily, allowing users to make a little trough in their bagel. The demand for this product includes both people who want to cut calories by streamlining their bagels and those who want more room to pile in their sandwich fillings.

But there are people who have even more specific food items on their wish lists. Those just want the marshmallows from their cereal box (as opposed to the cereal) or to just have the cream from inside their Oreo cookies, for instance. The Oreo cookie filling isn’t available on its own yet, but there are retailers who will sell you “just the cereal marshmallows.”

I like the way that these food “likes” and “dislikes” inspire new products, because while some of them turn out to be “unitaskers” that only a handful of people will use on a regular basis, others will turn into truly useful tools. I like both the edges and centers of brownies, but I really like my Baker’s Edge pan for making other bar cookies and desserts, too. The specific food items that people crave are interesting, as well – not because I want to eat a jar of Oreo cookie filling – but because they also inspire new products and trends. Chocolate chips are an easy example of this, because I suspect that at some point there were more than a few people eating chocolate chip cookies made with bars of chopped up chocolate and wishing that they could have a bag full of just the chips.

8 comments

  1. I must be the only person in the world that doesn’t like the edge pieces. :)

  2. No Maureen–you’re not the only one! I am with you 100% on not liking the edges. I wish there was a way to make a batch of brownies with no edges.

    Sue

  3. I’m a brownie middle sort of gal, too. Fortunately, hubby is an edge guy, so nothing goes to waste.

  4. I’m a brownie middle girl too. I hate the edge pieces!

  5. I eat the middle and then take the nasty edges and add them to vanilla ice cream. Add a little chocolate ganache!

  6. No edges for me either. But I want the middles fully cooked to be sure.

    When that pan came out I thought it was a useless thing that would disappear in no time. I just didn’t get that there was any appeal to the firm (and what to me are dry) edges… Who knew?

  7. The edge pans don’t appeal to me at all. We eat the middle first too!

  8. The Bakers Edge lasagna pan is wonderful and recently on seriouseats.com, the used the brownie pan for pizza! Pure genius !

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