After becoming Waitrose’s fastest-selling festive line during November 2010, Delia’s Classic Christmas Cake box has returned for Christmas 2011 and been joined by Mary Berry’s Traditional Christmas Cake mix from Tesco, Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference Christmas Cake kit, Whitworths Christmas Cake Baking Kit (available from Morrisons) and Harrods’ Make Your Own Christmas Cake.

Harrods’ product, while the most expensive, has the additional appeal of already being packaged in a festive tin, while the numbered ingredients allow for an even easier step-by-step process.

Containing all of the dry ingredients needed, one criticism of the kits has been the need for extras such as eggs, butter, orange/lemon zests and in most cases, marzipan and icing; falling a little short on offering a complete cake solution, although admittedly many of these are cupboard/fridge staples.

As demonstrated in Mintel’s Cakes and Cake Bars report, cake kits appeal to those consumers who want the satisfaction of (partially) creating something themselves without the stress (and risk) of making it from scratch.

With 36% of people agreeing that they prefer to bake cakes and cake bars from scratch, while 36% disagree with this statement, this ambivalence poses an opportunity for cake manufacturers and retailers to provide for the people who want to bake but who may not necessarily have the time or skills to do so and those who are simply looking for a hassle-free option and a way to make life easier, especially at Christmas.

For more information on consumer attitudes towards cakes and cake bars, have a look at Mintel’s Cakes and Cake Bars – UK, June 2011 report.

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