Why the Mr Kipling brand is targeting adult cake lovers

Premier Foods believes it has identified a gap in the premium market, as it increases indulgence despite more health-conscious consumers.

18 October 2019

It’s adults only for the premium dessert range recently released by Premier Foods under its Mr Kipling brand.

The line-up, called the Signature Collection, consists of 8 After Dinner Mint Fancies, 4 Chocolate, Caramel & Pecan Slices and 6 Apple, Pear & Custard Crumble Tarts (RRP £2.25 to £2.50).

“Our research showed us that the cake category typically under-trades in evening occasions post 9pm, with consumers looking for sweet products that are seen to be more of a treat and more rewarding than the current best-selling cakes,” Mathew Bird, brand director for sweet treats at Premier Foods, tells Food Spark. “Beyond this, for evening occasions consumers want treats that can be shared with friends and partners, and they are looking for premium products that enhance those experiences.”

The company identified a clear gap for a branded, premium range in small cakes that were exclusively targeted at adults. With this in mind, development of the Signature Collection focused on indulgent flavours and texture combinations, according to Bird.

“By creating new products based around some of Mr Kipling’s existing, best-selling formats – small pies, slices and fancies – we have been able to develop a range that delivers premium flavours based on some of the nation’s favourite cakes,” he explains.

Bigger isn’t necessarily better

Bird notes that evening snacking has seen growth for the first time in four years. In fact, when compared to afternoon snacking, average spend is 69% higher for evening consumption.

“For afternoon snacking.... shoppers are looking for products which are easily transportable and can last for a number of hours whilst they are out and about, with convenience being a huge purchase driver,” he says.

“In the evening, shoppers are not looking for convenient solutions to take with them, instead favouring premium products with sophisticated flavours that they can enjoy at home or at social occasions.”

Overall, small cakes have grown 5.3% this year, which Bird says allows the products to be included with retailers’ meal deal promotions or as part of on-the go fixtures.

Pushing up spend

Night-time treats aren’t the only focus for Premier Foods.

“We have seen that premium products that manage to span multiple occasions are proving to be the most effective launches, with products that meet different consumer needs and consumption occasions having greater appeal to consumers,” says Bird. “This in turn has contributed to overall grocery prices increasing 1.6% in the last year, with the launches of premium products unlocking new occasions and bringing new shoppers to their respective categories.”

Novel concepts are also bringing new shoppers to the cake aisle, like limited-edition Pug and Roald Dahl-themed cakes.

These can turn into permanent offerings. Unicorn Slices were initially launched as a short-term product but are now available all year round and have achieved £3.5m retail sales value in their first year, reveals Bird.

A range of health influences

There’s no escaping the influence of health on the space, with IRI research showing that 74% of people who are reducing cake consumption are doing so for health reasons.

Bird acknowledges that health is a trend that is here to stay, but believes it can mean different things to consumers, whether it’s sugar reduction, portion control or substituting ingredients for those with better nutrients or sources of energy.

“In January 2019, we brought reduced-sugar versions of our iconic Angel and Chocolate slices to market and have further plans to add more ‘healthier choice’ variants to our range in the future,” he says.

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