Mars follows Cadbury into cakes

Mars Confectionery is in talks with a raft of third-parties over a deal to franchise branded cakes, desserts and biscuits.

Mars marketing director Angus Porter admits he is following the lead of rival confectionery company Cadbury, which has licensing deals with Ranks Hovis McDougall (RHM) for ambient cakes, RHM Frozen for frozen cakes, Premier Beverages for drinks, Premier Biscuits for chocolate biscuits and Birds Eye Wall’s for ice-creams.

Porter says he is in talks with a number of food manufacturers, but stresses no new products will appear in the immediate future. However, he confirms one option is to produce a range of Galaxy desserts in conjunction with a division of Northern Foods – Rawmarsh Foods.

He says: “We are looking at introducing licensed brands into any area which will not damage our brand and which will expand the category.” Cadbury says about 20 per cent of the consumer value of its brand comes from its licensing agreements.

Mars has dabbled in third party deals in the past. When it launched the ice-cream in 1984, the bars were manufactured by Fredericks.

But Porter adds that any product seen as “strategic” would be manufactured by Mars itself. In the past the only brand extensions from Mars in the UK have been Mars ice-creams and Mars Milk – the latter launched in 1985 and replaced by Mars Active Energy Drink and Galaxy Chocolate Drink last year. Mars’ ice-cream bars are now manufactured by the Mars factory in France.

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