Cake sales have risen nicely, growing by £29.6m over the past year with sales up 2.4% on volumes up 2.2% [Kantar 52 w/e 21 July 2015].

“2015 has been a turnaround year for the cake market,” says Jeremy Horton, head of marketing and insight at UB’s McVitie’s Cake Company. ”Increased growth has been driven by higher levels of activity by brands such as ourselves, with more NPD and greater promotional investment. The cake category has also capitalised on more occasions, including on-the-go.”

With NPD including its relaunched Sticky Pudding Cakes, McVitie’s has had a good year, with value up 2.1% [IRI 52 w/e 15 August 2015], despite having an offer that majors in a sector in decline: cake bars, which are down 9.8% in value [Kantar].

Cadbury, made by Premier Foods, has also reaped the 7.3% value growth rewards of a flurry of innovation and range refreshes. Its Mini Rolls had four new flavours, new packaging and, for the first time in eight years, appeared on TV, while in September Premier also launched Cadbury Hot Cakes, which are selling like…well, it’s too early to say. Cadbury Amaze Bites, tubs of chocolate-covered brownie bites aimed at adult snacking, joined the stable in October.

But cakes don’t have to be small to see success. Whole cakes have grown by 2.6% with both private label and branded performing well, with Finsbury’s Frozen celebration cake, Cadbury Gateau and Mr Kipling Battenberg among the high fliers.

As well as increasing its capacity to produce Mr Kipling snack packs, Premier introduced more whole Mr Kipling cakes this year, adding a jumbo Fabulous Fancy and sharing cakes in five flavours. With more households buying whole cakes more frequently, and private label currently dominating whole cake growth [Kantar], the opportunity is clear.

Not always the glamour player of the category, malt loaf has also grown by an impressive 10.8% in value. Branded is driving malt loaf’s success, and Soreen has a lot to do with it. “Malt loaf is low fat, and ideally placed to answer a customer need for a satisfying, healthier alternative to cakes and biscuit,” explains Liz Jacobs, senior brand manager. ”We invested in an ATL campaign that has helped to grow penetration, and tapped into the on-the-go market. NPD such as Soreen Lunchbox Loaves and Breakfast Bakes have helped to attract a younger consumer to the Soreen range.”

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