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Bakeware Goes Back To Basics

As the holiday season approaches, home bakers are taking out their stand mixers, turning on their ovens and realizing that their bakeware pans could use a refresh. To prep for the seasonal rush, store owners told GOURMET INSIDER® that they are anticipating restocking their shelves primarily with the bakeware classics like the jelly roll pans, cookie cutters and bread-baking friendly stoneware. While novelty pans, like cake pops and mini tartlets, are still part of the unique bakeware mix in many stores, Gourmet Insiders said that more and more consumers are instead finding versatility with the classic pans.

“Jelly roll pans have surged for me,” Dean Eaton, owner of Your Kitchen Store in Keene, NH, said. “Our customers are using them for everything.”

Concord, MA-based Concord Cookware owner, Bob Prestige, also noted that he’s seen a similar spike in sales of jelly roll pans throughout the last year. His fastest sell- ing pan is the pure aluminum 21-inch by 15-inch pan from Nordic Ware. “Consumers are using this pan for everything. This summer it was a hit for entertaining and transporting ingredients to the grill. It’s picking up now for vegetable roasting, but we sometimes sell it by telling customers they can lay a towel on it and just use it as a TV tray,” Prestige said.

And it’s not only jelly roll pans that are seeing more than one use. Gourmet Insiders explained that cookie cutters are also becoming increasingly multi-functional. Wooster, OH-based Today’s Kitchen Store owner, Rick Davis, said that the store’s cookie cutter assortment has led to an expanded customer base.

“We’re seeing teachers come in looking to buy an alphabet of cookie cutters and different numbers,” he said. “They’ll also buy dinosaurs or butterfly shapes to cut out Playdough or clay with the younger kids,” he added.

Parents and bakers looking to cut out fondant shapes for cake decorating have also added to the rise in cookie cutter sales, Davis said. Davis also noted that many consumers are baking for more out-of-season holidays, like Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, so merchandising the cutters on a portable revolving rack makes it easy to feature the product during related sales and promotions and also is a convenient way to switch out the mix seasonally.

At Concord Cookware, the 7-ft by 4-ft cookie cutter wall has become somewhat of a staple in the community, and, according to Prestige, “not a day goes by where we don’t sell a few cookie cutters.”

Recently, Prestige brought attention — and a few laughs — to the store’s cookie cutter collection by tapping into the infamous “Deflategate” scandal involving NFL star quarterback Tom Brady. Prestige took a traditional football-shaped cookie cutter, squashed it, posted a picture to the store’s social media audience, and then watched as the comments rolled in. “It got a lot of laughs,” he said. “It didn’t generate hundreds of dollars of sales, but it was memorable. It did drive some customers to the store and it was a conversation starter with our patrons.”

For more on what bakeware is trending, see the Sept/Oct issue of GOURMET INSIDER®

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