In recent years, consumers looking to meet their health and wellness goals without sacrificing the occasional indulgence have turned to single-serve and other smaller products in their grocery’s in-store bakery.

One ISB treat in particular — cupcakes — is tailor-made for this surging demand, no product reengineering required.

Flexitarianism, meeting special dietary needs, nostalgia, convenience and permissive indulgence are some of the trends currently driving innovation in the cupcake category, said Lena Grobe, director of brand marketing for Rubicon Bakers, whose employees include people who have faced systemic barriers to employment.

Under the flexitarian/dietary needs heading, bakers like Rubicon are giving consumers vegan options (whether they’re fully vegan or interested in taking a break/eating less dairy) and low-sugar and gluten-free options, Grobe said.

Nostalgia, or “newstalgia” as it’s often reinterpreted today, involves rethinking popular flavors of yore and turning them into cupcakes, or adding a twist to a traditional flavor.

And when it comes to convenience and permissible indulgence, Grobe said, Rubicon is providing different size options for consumers on-the-go and for those looking to have a small “treat yourself” moment.

Rubicon’s new 2-pack Rubicon Bakers Cupcakes, which launched in grocery stores nationwide in March, and single serve Just Desserts Cupcakes are a perfect fit.

In addition to 2-pack unfilled cupcakes, Rubicon also sells 4-pack  cupcakes filled with icing.

The traditional and the new 

Red Velvet, Vegan Chocolate Blackout, Vegan Vanilla, Chocolate Cream are the top 4-Pack sellers for Rubicon, and have been for a while, Grobe said.

The company has recently also enjoyed an uptick in vegan sales.

Top sellers aside, Rubicon is always coming up with new flavors, Grobe said. New 2-pack flavors available in stores now include Vegan Mango Passion Fruit and Banana Cream.

Launching later this year will be Double Strawberry, Cookies and Cream, and Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough.

And in 4-packs, Rubicon will roll out a churro-inspired flavor this fall.

“Our seasonal flavors come and go and tend to generate a lot of consumer interest,” Grobe said.

All Rubicon cupcakes are free from anything artificial, made from scratch and made in a nut-free bakery.

This article is an excerpt from the May 2024 issue of Supermarket Perimeter. You can read the entire Cupcakes feature and more in the digital edition here.