Mary Berry range set to be worth £5m, says Finsbury

Finsbury Food Group expects sales of its Mary Berry cake range to reach £5m in its first year on shelf.

The business said the range, which launched last spring and comprises round and loaf cakes based on Berry’s recipes, had performed well and was in line to be worth £5m by the end of the company’s financial year (30 June).

“We’ve now got listings in most of the major retailers and it is proving to be a good licence for us,” Finsbury group finance director Stephen Boyd told British Baker, following the announcement of the company’s half-year results.

“It is continuing to be extremely strong and is coming up to being a £5m retail brand,” said Boyd, adding the range would be developed further.

“We will continue to innovate, but it will always be in the round cake or loaf cake areas – I can’t see us taking it into other formats like bites or cakes at the moment.”

In terms of other licences, Finsbury said Paw Patrol and Peppa Pig remained staple for the business. Emoji-themed cakes had also performed well and helped the business target a different audience to Paw Patrol, said Boyd, while Jurassic World had “been huge” and was being expanded with a second wave.

The company revealed it would also be launching a new licensed cake featuring Jojo Siwa (pictured right), a 14-year-old YouTube personality and singer, whose music video Boomerang has had almost 500 million views.

In its half-year results, Finsbury reported it had faced headwinds including rising costs, and Boyd said as much as 70% of the commodity pressures the business had faced had come from butter.

“Flour, chocolate, etc have been far smaller than that single commodity and pale into insignificance compared to butter,” he added. “The butter price is still higher than the seasonal range and we watch to see whether it will continue to ease back. I would hope production will follow the money eventually.”

Finsbury said increased automation had helped mitigate some of the increased cost, as had reformulation.

“We’ve done a lot of reformulation to reduce butter, particularly in cakes like chocolate and carrot where stronger flavours mask the taste of the butter,” said Boyd “In a chocolate cake that was all butter, where the chocolate does tend to mask the flavour of the butter, you can reduce it a bit and replace it with fats.”

He added that, ultimately, the businesses had had to introduce some price increases.

“If you look at the industry as a whole, in bakery you’ve got 2% to 3% price inflation in the market. It’s not just us - prices have been pushed through across the category.”

Finsbury recently announced it had secured a new credit facility, and Boyd said any potential acquisitions would be in the baking industry or those closely associated with it.

“There are a lot of new areas of interest where we don’t have a presence, so if the right opportunity comes up, we will look at it.”

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