Mr Kipling is a brand of cakes, pies and baked goods marketed in the United Kingdom and Ireland. It was introduced in May 1967 (at a time when cakes were more often bought from local bakers), to sell cakes of a local baker’s standard to supermarkets, and grew to become the United Kingdom’s largest cake manufacturer by 1976.The trademark is owned by Premier Foods, after its acquisition of Rank Hovis McDougall (RHM) in 2007.
Mr Kipling’s Cakes are made by the RHM subsidiary known as Manor Bakeries Ltd. which also produces products under the Lyons and Cadbury names. The Cadbury cakes are produced under licence from Cadbury plc, the owners of the brand name.
In recent years, the use of hydrogenated vegetable oil has been phased out in many Mr Kipling cakes.
With advertising using the phrase “exceedingly good cakes”, and television adverts which originally featured the voice of actor James Hayter, the brand had become the market leader in the United Kingdom by 1976, a position it still holds over thirty years later. Varieties of single-serving and individually wrapped cakes have also been marketed.
In the early 2000s, the Mr Kipling brand moved away from its familiar design, and, for about a year, a modern logo, consisting of a red oval with “Mr Kipling” in a script font inside the oval, was used. The slogan was modified to simply read “Exceedingly Good” and the description of cakes on the back of the packaging was altered so that it no longer appeared as if it were written by Mr Kipling.
Around 2005, the manufacturers briefly experimented with another new logo and a striking pack design: pack-fronts simply consisting of the words “Mr Kipling”, the name of the cake, and the phrase “Exceedingly good cakes” in a more formal, classic typeface; the only image of the cake on each pack-front was a close-up of one part of it, used as a background image for the entire pack. Around the same time, the write-ups on the back of their packaging once again purported to be written by the person of Mr Kipling.
Shortly afterwards, however, the pack design and brand image whole-heartedly returned to its roots. The logo introduced at the time was very closely based on the original one, featuring a traditional-style font in a gold-edged shape, the packs feature images of the cake(s), and various product features and write-ups are featured on the pack-front. In 2009, the pack designs were slightly revamped, with more emphasis put on the name of each product; the write-ups on the back of the pack no longer purport to be written by Mr Kipling.
Premier Foods also introduced what it termed ‘Snap Pack’ packaging (now renamed ‘Snack Pack’), providing cakes in individually sealed plastic packs to keep them fresh. It quickly became a top-seller for the brand.
Mr Kipling French Fancies are small sponge cakes, resembling petits fours, topped with a hemisphere of vegetable-oil “buttercream”. The cakes are coated with fondant icing, with several varieties drizzled with a second colour. Standard varieties are pink (“strawberry”) with pink drizzle, yellow (“lemon”) with yellow drizzle, and brown (chocolate) with chocolate drizzle.
Whereas cocoa is cited in the ingredients list, strawberry and lemon are not. The cakes are 30% sugar.
In September 2008, Mr Kipling announced the Big French Fancies, a large cake which can be sliced into portions. Supermarket and home-made copies are called Fondant Fancies.