Health and indulgence are two buzzwords that have peppered many a bakery marketing director’s PowerPoint presentation over the past year. But while the indulgent cakes sector continues to show great gains, healthy cake sales are somewhat stagnant.

Despite this slowdown, Anthony Alan Foods has chalked up over half of all low-fat cakes sales in the UK under its Weight Watchers cakes licence - worth nearly £18m in value. The cake range has increased market share in the low fat sector to nearly 56% (TNS Data w/e 21 May 2006), compared to 53% in May 2005.

"We’re not surprised by the slight decline in the sector," says Mark Rooza, UK sales director of Anthony Alan Foods. "Between 2004 and 2005, low-fat cakes outperformed the total cakes market significantly. Over the last few months there has been a natural pendulum as the market readjusts. However, initial figures indicate the next two quarters will reverse this trend and see a swing back to low-fat cakes."

Sales will come from re-invented teatime favourites, such as malt loaf, almond cake slices and cherry Bakewells, marketed as healthy options with fewer calories, he says. Untapped markets in Europe, particularly Germany, present another opportunity. "Retailers and consumers are very different in Europe so we’re trying to understand them better," he says.

But branded sales in the UK will depend on "maintaining the optimum brand versus own-label mix," says Rooza. "With the domination of retail own-label in this country, it would be difficult to grow market share to more than 60%, but we want to grow cash value. In the next three years, we believe we can grow to around £20-£25m in the UK."

Meanwhile, with feet firmly placed in the ’indulgent’ camp, Gü Chocolate Puds has grown 100% year-on-year to become the number one chocolate puddings firm. Consumers want good quality puddings to "complement today’s discriminating, yet convenience-led lifestyle", says Becs Hurwitz, marketing manager at Gü. "Our puds have widespread appeal and they stand out well on the shelves."

Quirky innovations include two board games - ’finger tangle’, a take on twister, and ’flick a penny’, which is similar to tiddlywinks - in the pack of its newly-launched Gü 70% Hot Chocolate Soufflé Party Puds, presented in an eight-pack. But the indulgence of the product, such as 70% cocoa chocolate, is driving sales, states Hurwitz. "We aim to lead the quality revolution in the indulgent sectors of ’everyday treat’ and ’occasions’," she says.

Also new are Gü’s Boozy Choc’N Roll Party Puds, made with 53% cocoa chocolate ganache and a dash of liqueur, Gü Hot Chocolate Lava Tarts, made with all butter pastry and filled with a rich chocolate fondant, and Posh Chocs in mint or caramel.