The company has launched 15 new products and smartened its packaging to create a more modern feel to its flagship brand. A further £5m has been earmarked for a national advertising campaign.
The cake manufacturer has expanded its whole cake offering from its single Manor House Cake to a seven-strong range, which now includes Carrot; Coffee & Walnut; Lemon Drizzle; and Battenberg cakes, a Victoria Sponge and a Raspberry Swiss Roll. To give them a more authentic home-baked appearance, the mix is allowed to rise naturally so that no two cakes are identical, says marketing director Kate Taylor.
Other new products include Chocolate & Pecan Brownies and Red Cherry, and Blackberry & Custard pies. A Victoria Slice has also been developed -- the first to be added to the range since Manor launched its Angel Slice in 1997.
Development of the products was aided by a recently installed Quick Start IT system from Ramesys, which has enabled Manor to centralise its entire new product development (NPD) process and slash the lead times of new products. Developed in collaboration with food companies and retailers, Quick Start holds a wide array of information on one central system, allowing access to relevant people and reducing duplication of activities.
Manor develops around 80 new products a year for its Mr Kipling, Cadbury and Lyon's brands, as well as for own-label. It makes further specification changes to at least half of its 500 products over the same period, impacting on more than 1,000 recipes and 2,000 raw material specifications each year.
Data on over 500 ingredients, 1,000 packaging items and 300 recipes has been transferred to the Quick Start system. This data is available for recipe development and final product formulation, reducing the time Manor can produce a product specification in the format required by its major multiple customers to a matter of minutes.
The new system was needed following the successful relaunch of the Mr Kipling brand last year, says head of manufacturing and technical services Malcolm Dargue. "The relaunch of the Mr Kipling brand had a dramatic effect on both product sales at Manor and the cake market as a whole -- turning a decreasing market into a growing one."
Quick Start replaces the old system of a food technologist having to manually prepare a product specification, which previously took Manor around eight hours.