'Free-from' food is a burgeoning sector

Freshly made cakes are coming back to the high street, with the additional draw of being egg-free and made on demand. The Eggfree Cake Box has seen its pilot store experience incredible demand for its product and is now seeking to expand nationwide

With modern food trends increasingly causing people to limit their intake of certain food types, products that can guarantee themselves free of less desirable ingredients are seeing an uplift in demand. This in part explains the success of The Eggfree Cake Box, a retail concept which has established itself in a niche market providing egg-free cakes on demand, including celebration cakes within 20 minutes and wedding cakes within 24 hours. The company is now seeking to expand nationwide via franchising.

With the company-owned pilot store established in East London last year now achieving over £6,000 in weekly sales, founder Sukh Chamdal has already concluded franchise agreements with three individuals and is seeking a further six to eight by the end of this year. "We originally planned for the product line to target Indian and Muslim customers, who all require egg-free food products, but the demand we've received from all demographics has been enormous because our cakes taste so good," he explains. "There just isn't that much competition in terms of cake shops on the high street anymore as supermarkets have driven them away. However, our combination of providing cakes that are egg-free, on demand and using fresh cream has really taken off."

The first franchise owner, Pawan Kumar, has been operating his Ilford-based shop for three months and is projecting a £100,000 turnover for his first year. "I'd previously been a tailor, but saw the egg-free cake concept as a better business proposition for the future," he reveals. "The training prepared me very well for operating in a completely different industry and, with the marketing we have conducted through leaflets, radio spots and local magazine advertising, we're seeing plenty of interest from people who are coming back again and again and recommending us to their friends. We've had complete support from head office and once the first shop is fully established we'll look at opening a few more."

Sukh has developed a professional franchise package with the assistance of consultancy Franchise Development Services. The comprehensive training and support have been designed to allow people to make a success of the business regardless of their background, with the company focusing its search on individuals with determination and strong people skills.

"For special occasions or an everyday treat we all love cakes, but our busy lifestyles mean very few of us bake our own - that's why The Eggfree Cake Box has proved so popular," says Sukh. "We give our customers a chance to treat themselves with quality cakes made with natural ingredients. Recent findings by research company Mintel confirm that there is growing consumer concern over fresh foods and well-being, awareness and complexity of food allergies are rising rapidly in the UK, and 'free-from' food is a small but burgeoning sector. This is great news for The Eggfree Cake Box and any potential franchise owners who recognise such a promising business opportunity at just the right time."

Reported by Stuart Anderson