Premier Foods has unveiled a new £20m cake line in Barnsley, to double production of Mr Kipling snack packs.

The new line at the Carlton bakery claims to produce over 300 million snack pack slices a year – as the company aims to meet growing demand.

The investment involves the use of ‘advanced robotics’ to increase the number of pack and case sizes. It will also assist the company in its focus on sourcing 70% of its ingredients for the new slices like wheatflour, sugar and glucose syrup, from UK suppliers and farmers.

Gavin Darby, chief executive officer of Premier Foods praised the company’s growth in cakes over the last nine months.

He said: “I’m very excited about the future for Mr. Kipling. The additional capacity and flexibility from this new investment will help us improve productivity and capture new growth opportunities. It’s also a great vote of confidence in Barnsley and our colleagues at the Carlton bakery”.

This comes as the bakery celebrates its 40th anniversary this year.

The line will today (3 July) be opened formally by Environment secretary Elizabeth Truss. She said: “Our food manufacturing sector is bigger than cars and aerospace combined, generating over £100 billion for the economy. Iconic British brands like Mr. Kipling are key to its success and ensuring our food businesses can thrive is central to the government’s long-term plan.”

Mr. Kipling is the UK’s leading cake brand with a 17% share of the £1bn packaged cake market. The brand outperformed the market in in the six months to March 2015, growing 11% in value while the entire packaged cake sector grew 2.6%, according to IRI data.

Mr. Kipling Snack Packs were launched in 2011. Three new Milkshake flavours were recently launched to join the existing range of Angel, Chocolate, Lemon, Banoffee and Caramel flavours.

A Premier performance 

Leading City analysts Investec have recently predicted that by 2018 Premier Foods will be turning over revenue of £801m.

They also praised the company’s uplift in the cake sector, but warned that the anticipated reduction of SKUs by 30% at Tesco could impact Premier’s branded lines.

On the other hand, Premier could benefit from the SKU trim if it was to secure increased shelf space when competing products were dropped.