Burton’s Biscuit Company has invested £5m at its Cookie of Excellence Centre in Blackpool as it pursues major plans for its power brands.
More than £40m has been invested over the past three years, supporting this month’s launch of Soft Baked cookies – the latest sub-brand of the Maryland brand, which is worth £47m. This follows a £2m investment made in 2013 to increase capacity at the facility.
The latest £5m investment in Burton’s, which was acquired last year by the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, has increased production capacity and capabilities including a new production line for the new product.
Toby Baker, director of sweet, said: “Introducing new innovative products like Maryland Soft Baked ensures our power brands remain consumer favourites and that we’re continuing to transform the UK biscuit aisle.
“Supported by more than £3m of consumer investment into the Maryland brand in 2015, we’re confident that consumers and retailers alike will love this new cookie, making every day more of a treat.”
Burton’s currently has a 9.7% share of the £2bn-a-year biscuit market, which is in growth. Maryland Gooeys and Big & Chunky, which were launched in 2013 and 2011 respectively, are worth £15m combined and Baker anticipates a worth of £20m by 2017.
Savoury also represents an area of focus for Burton’s, which branched into the category at the end of 2013 by relaunching its Fish’n’Chips crisps and introducing Cathedral City Baked Bites in a new brand link-up.
So far, the category is going “phenomenally well”. Baker added: “We see ourselves in the snacking industry, so savoury is an opportunity for us.”
Meanwhile, first-month figures for Soft Baked cookies won’t be in until the end of January, but the Blackpool factory is currently producing one tonne an hour of each for 16 hours a day, with a view to ramping it up to 24 hours a day.
As Burton’s is licensed to produce all of Cadbury’s biscuits it has launched the Creme Egg biscuit bar for the second year, which will be available until Easter. It garnered £3m in revenue last year and Baker expects to sell 50% more with an estimated revenue of £5.5m this quarter, despite Easter’s early position.