Own-label manufacturer The Cake Crew is venturing into the branded market for the first time with a range of ‘premium’ cupcakes called Beautifully Crafted.

Available in single and twin packs, as well as sharing platters, the cupcakes come in four flavours – Salted Caramel, Chocolate, Red Velvet, and Strawberry. Each has a centre of either jam, caramel or chocolate sauce and is topped with buttercream frosting and finished with gold chocolate flakes, fudge squares or fruit pieces.

“We supply all the major retailers – the top five and The Co-op – with own-label cupcakes and we’ve come to a point in our seven-year history where we’re looking at the long-term plan for business growth,” The Cake Crew business development director Bill Smith-Coats told British Baker.

“For us, it is diversification, and that means new markets with new products,” he said, adding that the business believed the opportunity in the impulse market was around branded lines.

The UK retail cupcake market is currently worth £43m, according to IRI figures for 52w/e 23 April 2017, with value growth of 11.3% despite a volume decline.

Beautifully Crafted is aimed at the impulse market, with food-to-go, convenience and food service The Cake Crew’s main priority. So far it has gained listings in Spar, One Stop, Nisa, Budgens and Road Chef with an rsp of £1.09 for a single cupcake and £1.99 for twin-packs.

The Cake Crew has set “ambitious” targets for Beautifully Crafted while maintaining a good performance for its own-label business, which grew 50% in 2016 and a further 30% in 2017.

“We’re looking to have a 70/30 split in favour of own label which is 100% at the moment,” Smith-Coats added. “In the next three years we want to deliver in the region of £10m worth of sales.”

The Cake Crew has also invested in a new type of packaging for Beautifully Crafted that uses a patented anti-tip tray to prevent damage to the cakes’ decorations.

Phase two of the launch is a Cake Crew Kids range due to roll out in March 2018.

“Seventy-five per cent of the market we’re targeting with this launch is females aged 18 to 35, but there’s also children aged five to 12 which carry the other 25% of the market,” explained Smith-Coats.

“That product will have less fat, less sugar, less calories. The first two, in particular, are key drivers for the shopper, which is the mother.”