Handmade Cake Co (2)

Source: Handmade Cake Co

The Handmade Cake Co reported strong growth due to sales of its free-from products

The Handmade Cake Co reported a “year of strong growth” as increased focus on free-from bakery products boosted annual sales.

The cakes, traybakes and scones wholesaler posted a 17% jump in revenues to £21.3m for the year ended December 2018, due to strong growth of its gluten-free range - now accounting for 21% of total sales.

Increased focus on NPD within the free-from range, especially vegan, would “help the business lead the way in core competencies”, the company said.

Operating profits were up from £3.5m to £4.8m largely driven by “improvement in operational efficiencies”. Pre-tax profits jumped 37% to £4.8m.

The Handmade Cake Co is one of three bakeries owned by France’s Mademoiselle Dessert International in the UK. The others, Mademoiselle Desserts Corby and Mademoiselle Desserts Taunton, experienced “challenging 12 months” last year.

Mademoiselle Desserts Taunton, formerly known as Ministry of Cake, saw sales drop in 2018 to £22.9m from £34m.

The business, however, swung to pre-tax profits of £2.3m from a loss of £1.1m posted for the 15-month period to December 2017. The prior year’s profitability had been hampered by costs associated with the closure of its Torquay site.

After closing the loss-making site, the company’s pudding plant was transferred to Mademoiselle Desserts Corby.

Like its sister company The Handmade Cake Co., Mademoiselle Desserts Taunton has been focusing on developing a new range of vegan products in 2018, hoping to attract new customers.

Meanwhile, Mademoiselle Desserts Corby experienced a sharp reduction in pre-tax profits to £214k from £871k in 2017 largely due to the impact on operational efficiencies from the pudding arm move to Corby.

Sales however, rose to £10.1m in 2018 from £7.9m, with £2.1m generated by puddings’ sales.

Looking ahead, the business will continue to focus on “quality, excellent customer service and new product development” as it aims to maintain customer retention levels despite challenges within the casual dining market.