THE maker of Mr Kipling has given a major update after putting up prices by as much as 129% last year.
Premier Foods, which owns the cake firm and a handful of other iconic British brands, has pledged to reduce prices across more ranges as it passes on lower costs.
The group’s chief executive, Alex Whitehouse, confirmed the firm would extend price cuts again after previously slashing prices back in the final three months of 2023.
The company, which makes various products from plain flour to cooking sauces and quick meals, has benefited from consumers choosing to entertain at home rather than going to restaurants amid a cost-of-living squeeze.
Mr Whitehouse said: “The lower promotional price points we introduced in the third quarter have positively impacted performance while also helping consumer budgets go further.
“These lower prices will be extended to additional products such as Loyd Grossman cooking sauces and Mr Kipling Bakewell slices in quarter four.”
In November, the company said it had seen some input costs soften and would lower promotional prices across its major brands.
It cut prices of Batchelors Super Noodles and some Mr Kipling slices.
But prices still remained 16% higher than they were in the previous financial year.
Premier Foods sold 190 mince pies over the festive period, four million more than the previous year over Christmas.
Mr Whitehouse said: “Festive favourites such as Bisto, Oxo and Paxo contributed to our biggest ever Christmas, as consumers enjoyed not only the core ranges but new products such as Bisto Best meat free gravy and Paxo Chicken and Bacon stuffing.
“We sold nearly 190 million mince pies, four million more than last year, helped by the new Mr Kipling ‘Best Ever’ Signature mince pies.”
But it was lower production costs which helped boost its performance in the quarter, with group sales up 14.4% in the three months to December 30.
The company employs over 4,000 people operating from 15 sites across the country, supplying a range of retail, wholesale, food service and other customers several iconic brands.
Price cuts like this offer further signs of an easing in food inflation after last year’s painful increases, which saw prices rise at the fastest pace for more than 45 years.
Official figures showed wider UK food price inflation fell back to 8% last month, down from 9.2% in November and the lowest rate since April 2022.
However, there are some fears that attacks on shipping in the Red Sea could affect costs for food retailers if the disruption continues.
Premier Foods was slammed for hiking the prices of some products by as much as 75% at the beginning of May 2023.
At the time, analysis by The Grocer and Associa for The Sun found Premier Foods hiked a 230g tub of Bisto Best chicken gravy 50% from £2.50 to £3.75.
Cans of Ambrosia rice pudding went up 76% from 99p to £1.74.
Mr Kipling Angel Slices rose 57% to £3.59 and Sharwood’s Butter Chicken sauce is up 68% to £2.69.
And in August, watchdog Which? slammed the group for upping the price of one Mr Kipling treats by 129%.
A packet of six exceedingly good chocolate slices went from £1.16 to £2.66 — a rise of £1.50.
At the time, it made Premier Foods one of the worst price hike offenders, according to Which?’s food inflation tracker.
And Sue Davies, head of consumer rights and food policy at Which?, called the rises “barely believable”.
In other news, Cadbury was slammed last week for upping the price of Mini Eggs ahead of Easter.
The price of an 80g bag of the sweet treat has surged 25% in Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda and Morrisons – from £1 to £1.25.