The hefty UK promotional investment included a packaging revamp – incorporating front-of-pack traffic light labels – and a TV and digital marketing campaign ‘life is better with cake’.
Joanna Agnew, marketing controller for Premier’s Mr Kipling brand, said the overall objective was to get Mr Kipling top of mind for consumers and reach a wider audience.
“One of the key barriers with Mr Kipling is it seems a little bit old fashioned; consumers think it’s bought by nans. We need to get the brand more top of mind and get people talking about it,” she told BakeryandSnacks.com.
It was also about stimulating growth in a fairly flat cake category, she said, particularly as the broader sweet snack sector (chocolate and biscuits) remained in growth. Packaged cakes in the UK are currently worth£952m ($1.5bn) annually, according to Symphony IRI, with growth at around 0.4%.
“The market out there is very competitive – there’s a lot of price promotional activity. It’s really important that Mr Kipling does go after its fair share,” Agnew said.
Having cake and eating it: Sugar woes?
Asked if the stagnant growth in cakes could be related to concerns around sugar in the UK, Agnew said: “We are fully aware around the sensitivities of that but we’re very open in the contents of sugar and sat fats.”
Premier Foods had rolled out voluntary traffic light labeling across its entire portfolio in the UK and the front-of-pack scheme now featured on all new Mr Kipling packs, she said.
This will mean red traffic lights for some brands. For example, Mr Kipling Cherry Bakewells contain 18.2 g sugars per cake, equivalent to just over three teaspoons.
Premier also pledged to reduce calories in Mr Kipling across one-third of its portfolio by the end of 2014, under the UK Department of Health’s Public Health Responsibility Deal.
However, she said consumers expected sugar in cake and considered it a treat. “We’ve done a lot of research with our consumers and it really comes back to that key point – if consumers have decided to have a treat, they’re ready to indulge and they know a product has sugar in it.”
Snack packs taking off
Earlier this year Premier Foods pledged £20m ($32m) to develop a snack pack production line – set to be finished by May 2015. The snack pack concept saw the brand’s traditional six-pack cakes move to being individually wrapped, rather than twin-wrapped.
Mr Kipling already had 13 snack pack variants already on shelf and will roll out the format across its entire portfolio by the end of September.
Agnew said the snack packs opened the Mr Kipling brand up to a whole host of new occasions and was a lever for growth. For example, mums could take individual cakes out for the kids or put them in their lunchboxes, she said.
Interactive promotion: ‘People want to engage and interact with marketing’
Discussing the latest £10m ($16m) cash injection into promotional activity, Agnew said Mr Kipling would invest in digital promotions and had already made a push with face-to-face marketing.
This week, for example, it unveiled an edible billboard made up of Mr Kipling cakes in London. “It’s very exciting and very different for the brand. There was just so much engagement; there was a constant queue of people waiting to get a piece of cake. People were Tweeting, posting on Instagram and taking selfies, and it’s really important we evolve the brand with this trend – people want to engage and interact with marketing.”