Charlie Bigham’s is making its debut in desserts with a range of ready-to-bake ‘Proper Puds’.
It has created five puddings: Sticky Toffee, Sticky Ginger, Chocolate Fondant, Bread & Butter and Cherry Bakewell.
They were made with “the choice ingredients found in a discerning baker’s pantry”, said the brand, such as “Belgian chocolate shards, sherry-soaked raisins, cinnamon sugar and sweet cherry compote”.
They are packaged in the same wooden trays as the brand’s savoury meals, and have a 15 to 20-minute cooking time. They are being manufactured at a purpose-built bakery at Charlie Bigham’s London base.
The full line-up will roll exclusively into Waitrose from 6 February (rsp: £5.50/362g-490g).
Charlie Bigham’s CEO Patrick Cairns told The Grocer the brand had received “consistent responses from consumers asking why we don’t do puddings”.
The move “involved us looking at the market and thinking actually, we think we can deliver something very different and that is a very high quality, fresh, premium, traditional pudding”, he added.
The brand sought out recipes “where the style of pudding is particularly suited to the fresh concept and is also consistent with the brand”, he said.
The ready meal category took a significant hit last year, with total category sales falling £52.3m to £3,882.1m [Kantar 52 w/e 8 September 2019].
But Charlie Bigham’s bucked the trend. It grew a whopping 24.7% last year to £77.2m, with volumes up 24.1% [Nielsen 52 w/e 7 September 2019].
Cairns said this was thanks to the brand’s “ability to deliver consistently high-quality meals” and shoppers treating its meals as “almost not a ready meal”.
“We have people tell us that they don’t eat ready meals, but they do eat Charlie Bigham’s,” he added.