Aaron "Bunny" Lapin, 85, who put whipped cream in a spray can a half-century ago and called it Reddi-wip, turning a dessert topping into a symbol of postwar America's drive for convenience, died July 10 at a Los Angeles hospital. The cause of death was not reported.
Reddi-wip was first sold by Mr. Lapin's Clayton Corp. in 1948 and was distributed in St. Louis. Sales quickly expanded throughout the United States and Canada. Half of the aerosol topping bought in the United States each year is Reddi-wip, packaged in the familiar red, white and blue can. It is marketed as "a hassle-free way to top off sweet treats."
Mr. Lapin, a native of St. Louis, began as a clothing salesman. He moved into the food business during World War II, selling Sta-Whip, a wartime substitute for whipping cream.
In 1946, Crown Cork and Seal Co. introduced the Spra-tainer, the first seamless, lined aerosol canister, and Mr. Lapin became one of Crown's first customers. In addition to packaging Reddi-wip, Clayton Corp. made and sold its own valves for the whipped cream enterprise.
Clayton was one of the first companies to put shaving cream in an aerosol can, but Mr. Lapin decided not to market the product because he didn't want to compete with shaving cream makers who might buy his valves.
He moved his business, Reddi-wip Inc., to Los Angeles in 1954, taking it nationwide as he did so. Clayton Corp. and its subsidiaries also made caulk, adhesives and foamed plastic products such as insulation and cushioning materials.
Mr. Lapin eventually lost control of Clayton and sold his interest in Reddi-wip, which is now made by Beatrice Foods Inc. in Waukesha, Wis. Beatrice is a subsidiary of ConAgra, the Omaha-based food maker.
In December, Time magazine chose Mr. Lapin as one of the business geniuses of the century. The magazine listed Reddi-wip as one of the century's 100 great things for consumers, along with the pop-top can and Spam.
Survivors include two children.