The icing on the cake

Tarek Malouf, founder of Hummingbird Bakery, explains why he is confident his brand will be successful in the Middle East, and why cupcakes will never go out of fashion

Cupcakes are just a fad, aren’t they? That’s what we’ve been told for the best part of a decade, so it must be true, mustn’t it?

Not in the slightest.

Sales continue to grow, baking businesses continue to bloom, and customers continue to enjoy one of the most popular sweet treats of recent years.

In fact, the cupcake industry is worth more than $6bn in the USA alone, and has been one of the fastest growing segments of the baked-goods sector in the past five years.

People are willing to pay good money for good quality cupcakes, and in the UAE it seems the appetite for them is insatiable, with bakeries continuing to open apace, allowing cupcakes to keep up with more recent trends such as macaroons and frozen yoghurt.

Nowhere is this point proven with more clarity than with the arrival and impending expansion of British business Hummingbird Bakery.

Having arrived in Dubai in September 2012 its popularity has soared. Occupying a prominent position in Dubai Mall, the bakery was brought to the emirate by franchisee Daud Arabian, which has an impressive portfolio of brands including California Pizza Kitchen, YO! Sushi, Morelli’s Gelato, Gourmet Burger Kitchen, Trader Vic’s and Pinkberry.

But the Hummingbird story started many years before the brand arrived in Dubai, garnering a stellar reputation over a ten year period in its home city of London.  And its founder, Tarek Malouf, believes there is a healthy future for cupcakes in the UAE, the Middle East, and the world in general.

“To be honest journalists have been writing a lot in the UK since a year after I opened first shop that cupcakes are fads and are yesterday’s news,” he says. “But our sales have just grown and grown, which really shows they are not a fad, and people are still very interested.

“I think this will continue to be the case. I’m confident that cupcakes will last for a much longer time than people seem to think.”

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