Mr Kipling owner to target US cake market

Premier Foods revealed sales fell 6.5% in the six months to October 2 compared with a year ago when households stockpiled during the pandemic.

Simon Neville
Tuesday 16 November 2021 12:47
Premier Foods sales fell (Premier Foods/PA)
Premier Foods sales fell (Premier Foods/PA)

Mr Kipling is heading stateside with the brand’s owner hoping to win over American cake lovers.

Premier Foods which also owns Ambrosia Bisto and Angel Delight, said it will trial cake slices in the US and roll out more cakes in Canada following a successful trial.

But bosses also warned customers in the UK can expect to see prices on their products rising as inflation begins to bite.

The profit fall was due to Premier Foods selling Hovis last year (Premier Foods/PA)

Chief executive Alex Whitehouse said the increased prices Premier Foods is charging supermarkets is commercially sensitive but did reveal cost pressures are now being passed on.

He said: “We’re seeing import cost inflation across the board on a wide range of ingredients.

“The last resort for us is to put through price increases but, inevitably, that is where we’re going to end up but we’re not sharing what we’re likely to pass on to our customers at this point.

“It is commercially sensitive to talk about the exact price increases to customers.”

On plans for the US, the boss explained the company will follow the pattern used in Canada, which saw a trial of cake slices sold in supermarkets.

He said: “We’re focusing first on our cake slices. That’s based on research that we’ve done both in Canada and the US and it was the case that those would be interesting to us for consumers.

“In Canada we’re in full rollout mode. In the US we’re going into a couple of supermarket chains to validate the model works… then we’ll push out to more stores. It’s a test and learn approach.”

The comments and plans come as Premier Foods revealed sales fell in the six months to October 2 by 6.5% to £394.1 million.

Bosses pointed out that on a two-year, pre-pandemic, basis, sales remained strong, pointing out that last year’s numbers were skewed due to stockpiling by customers.

Mr Whitehouse said that he remains happy with the business and sees Premier Foods continuing to benefit from strong growth in home baking, particularly home-made pizzas.

Half year pre-tax profits were also down in the period compared to a year ago – dropping 39.2% to £30.7 million – due to the sale of its Hovis business, with the cash banked last year.

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