Mini mince pies have helped increase Mr Kipling sales by 10% – the brand’s eighth consecutive quarter of turnover growth.
Announcing its results for the 13 weeks to 28 December, brand owner Premier Foods said Mr Kipling – its largest brand – had benefited from increased marketing investment and new product launches.
In total, Premier sold 201 million mince pies in 2019, up 7% on 2018, and equivalent to around three mince pies for each person in the UK.
Following the success of the mini mince pies, a range of mini pies is being rolled out this month.
Each pack (rsp: £1.99) contains nine individual pies or tarts, with three different flavours per box: Mini Bakewell Selection (lemon, cherry and caramel); Mini Fruit Pie Selection (apple & blackcurrant, Bramley apple and cherry); and Sponge Tart Selection (almond & raspberry, double chocolate and lemon & coconut).
Sales of the company’s Cadbury licensed product ranges have grown on a year-to-date basis, but Premier admitted they had been slightly weakened in December as lower promotional levels offset the launch of Cadbury cake mixes.
Premier’s own-label cakes business has been in decline in recent quarters as the business focused on its brands. It returned to growth in Q3, with sales up 8.8% year on year, although this was a reflection of weak trading a year ago when the business had problems with new warehousing and logistics systems.
Overall sales across the company’s cake business – its Sweet Treats division – rose 8%.
Premier’s total sales, including brands such as Bisto and Ambrosia, were up 2.6% year-on-year.
However, Premier’s international division, which has in previous years benefited from a strong performance by Mr Kipling and Cadbury cake, fell 17% year-on-year. The company said it was revising its approach to deliver more consistent sustainable growth.
Commenting on the results, Premier chief executive officer Alex Whitehouse said the company had delivered 10 consecutive quarters of revenue growth and had consistently outperformed the market.
“Our biggest brand, Mr Kipling, has again been instrumental to this continuing momentum. Our proven branded growth model of delivering new product innovation based on consumer trends together with high-quality advertising behind our major brands continues to work very well.”
Whitehouse added the business was on track to deliver £5m in savings over the next two years, and that the company’s profit expectations for the full year were unchanged.