London / UK. (pf) British Premier Foods PLC unveiled a new 20 million GBP production line at its Mr.Kipling bakery in Carlton, Barnsley more than doubling capacity of its fast-selling Snack Pack cake slices.
The new line was formally opened by the Rt. Hon. Elizabeth Truss MP, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, marking the introduction of innovative robotic technology at the site, the creation of 80 new jobs and the wider economic benefits for Premier Foods’ suppliers including British farmers.
The investment builds on the recent success of Mr.Kipling following its re-launch last year which included new packaging, advertising and promotions. The Snack Pack format of individually packed slices is now the fastest selling Mr.Kipling cake responding to consumer demand for more convenient «on the go» formats. At full capacity the new production line can produce more than 300 million Snack Pack slices a year helping keep pace with growing demand. The use of advanced robotics increases the number of pack and case sizes possible, enabling greater flexibility to meet different consumer and retailer requirements.
The Carlton Bakery, which celebrates its 40th anniversary this year, employs 750 people, rising to 1’500 in seasonal periods. Around 80 new jobs will be created over two years, including a number of higher skilled roles, building on the Company’s commitment to increase the intake of apprentices. The investment will also bring wider economic benefits given Premier Foods’ focus on sourcing 70 percent of its ingredients for the new slices, including wheatflour, sugar and glucose syrup, from UK suppliers and farmers.
Environment Secretary Truss said: «Our food manufacturing sector is bigger than cars and aerospace combined, generating over 100 billion GBP for the economy. Iconic British brands like Mr.Kipling are key to its success and ensuring our food businesses can thrive is central to the government’s long-term plan».
Gavin Darby, Chief Executive Officer said: «I am very excited about the future for Mr.Kipling. Our cake business has grown significantly over the last nine months and the additional capacity and flexibility from this new investment will help us improve productivity and capture new growth opportunities. It is also a great vote of confidence in Barnsley and our colleagues at the Carlton bakery».
Mr.Kipling is the UK’s leading cake brand with a 17 percent share of the one billion GBP packaged cake market. In the six months to March this year the packaged cake category grew 2.6 percent in value terms while the Mr.Kipling brand grew by eleven percent. Market share is up 1.3 percentage points and household penetration increased by 2.2 percentage points – Premier Foods said in its news release (Imgage Source: Premier Foods / Mr.Kipling).